News: Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company's Move-It Teacher's Summer Workshop

Known as a pioneer for dance education within Utah’s school system, the Salt Lake City–based Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company continues to keep the field of dance and its educators moving forward through its workshops. Begun as choreography labs in the 1980s for such visiting luminaries as Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Doug Varone and Pascal Rioult, among others, the company’s current incarnation of the teacher’s modern/contemporary-focused summer workshop “provides participating educators with a much needed psychological and inspirational boost, as well as physical and practical information in preparation for their next year of teaching,” says Jessica Ballard, Ririe-Woodbury PR and marketing director.

Workshop instructor Kay Anderson, a former company and master class teacher at the Nikolais and Murray Louis Dance Company, believes in honoring not only the skills of the teacher, but those of the inner performer and choreographer, to facilitate a complete artistic renewal. The workshop is set among Utah’s pastoral desert and mountain scenery, and participating teachers will experience tailored technique exercises, theory and improvisation classes, choreography, discussions on the state of the dance field and even tap dancing. (A favorite past workshop theme is immediacy—learning to be present in the moment by analyzing and deconstructing the immediate movement response to unexpected noise.) Educators may also take one or two of the remaining weeks from a concurrently running workshop for dancers (at a reduced rate) that focuses on technique, improvisation, choreography, body conditioning, African dance and Capoeira.

“The experience is far beyond any other dance class I have ever attended,” says Jody Jensen, a dance company teacher at Cyprus High School in Magna, Utah. “Not only are you taught by such inspirational giants in the dance world, you are also surrounded by other educators.” DT

Lee Erica Elder is a freelance writer in New York City.

Photo by Fred Hayes, courtesy of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company

Program Statistics

Prospective participants: Designed for teachers working in the university, professional and secondary school settings

Program: The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s Move-It Teacher’s Summer Workshop

Date/time: July 27–31, 2009; Monday–Friday, 9 am–4 pm

Location: Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 West 300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah

Registration: $210, Utah teachers $110 (after June 1, 2009)

Accreditation received: Participants receive a Ririe-Woodbury certificate of hours earned, which can earn licensure points through the State Office of Education and lead to salary increases. The workshop may also be taken for University of Utah credit, which can be transferred to other schools.

Directors/founders: Artistic director and choreographer, Charlotte Boye-Christensen (Milwaukee Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, New Danish Dance Theatre and the Bauhaus); co-founder and managing director, Joan Woodbury (the first Fulbright scholar in dance, under legendary choreographer Mary Wigman); and co-founder, Shirley Ririe (United States delegate to Dance and Child International)

Fun fact: In 2003, the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance selected Ririe-Woodbury as the dance company to house the works of the late modern dance innovator Alwin Nikolais, and the company’s performances of his work have received outstanding recognition around the globe.

Contact: Jessica Ballard, PR and marketing director, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, 138 West 300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101; 801-297-4213; info@ririewoodbury.com; www.ririewoodbury.com

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