Two new works will be unveiled at this weekend’s Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performances: Netta Yerushalmy’s NORWEGIA and Daniel Charon’s 53 Rooms.

The program will open with NORWWEGIA. “We’re very excited about Netta’s piece,” said Charon, Ririe-Woodbury’s artistic director. “She’s made an eclectic dance in five sections, each of which with a different esthetic landscape.”

Musically, NORWEGIA explores a “really diverse environment that employs jazz, piano, and silence,” Charon added. “It’s abstract with clean movement and juxtaposes different elements.”

This will be the first time Ririe-Woodbury has performed one of her works. “I’ve known her for the last 15 years, but our company has never done anything by her.”

The second half will feature Charon’s 53 Rooms, which he choreographed to Terry Riley’s seminal minimalist piece, In C.

A recent rehearsal of "In C." (Photo Credit: Stuart Ruckman)

In C, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is intricately crafted, starting with a beat, or “pulse,” as Riley calls. One instrument after another enters, with all instruments playing the same set of motivic fragments, or chords, successively. There is a lot of performer choice involved, and there are no set numbers of instruments required for a performance.

For this performance, Ririe-Woodbury will be collaborating with the Salt Lake Electric Ensemble (SLEE), who will be realizing it with an interesting configuration, including laptops.

“We’re using six computers, a drum set, a vibraphone and bass, acoustic and electric guitars,” said SLEE co-founder Matt Starling. “I’ll also be playing flugelhorn.”

Starling, who is a contributor for Reichel Recommends, said that this is the first highly visible choreography of In C  that he is aware of. “We’re thrilled that a dance company with an international following and reputation like Ririe-Woodbury contacted us. It’s a big opportunity for us, and we were all on board right away.”

SLEE colleague Greg Midgley agreed with Starling. “It’s exciting. It’s definitely something new in my experience.”

Starling said that SLEE and Charon have been working closely together since both groups agreed on this collaboration. “We’ve been in constant conversation. It’s a two-way street, a real collaboration.”

There will be three performances of this program, and Ryan Fedor, another member of SLEE, said that no two will be the same. “There is some built in improvisation in the

piece so each time we play it, it will be different.”

Charon’s choreography is built on what he calls In C’s “physical narrative.” There are many nuances in the score and the interplay among the instruments is important to his conceptualization. “I’ve based my choreography on the ideas in the score,” he said. “It’s a study in group and the individual within the group and the individual influence within the group.”

Joining the company’s six dancers for In C will be members of the University of Utah’s modern dance program.

“It’s going to be a dynamic evening with some really interesting things happening,” Charon promised. “There are going to be elements that are intellectual, thoughtful and visceral.

“I just want everybody [in the audience] to go along for the ride.”

  • What: Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s “Spring Season,” featuring two world premieres
  • Venue: Jeanné Wagner Theatre, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center
  • Time and Date: 7:30 p.m. April 9-11
  • Tickets: $35
  • Phone: 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787
  • Web: www.arttix.org


(Be sure to visit our monthly dance calendar by clicking on “Events Calendar.”)

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, Off the Map Series, BYU International Arts Festival, presents France, Compagnie sens Dessus Dessous Linéa, two dancing jugglers and 100 yards of rope, February 5-7, 6 p.m. and also a 1 p.m. performance on February 7,  Pardoe Theatre, Harris Fine Arts Center, $7-10, 801-422-4322, www.byuarts.com.

UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY, Utah Regional Ballet, Choreography Design Competition, Jacqueline Colledge, artistic director,” the company’s 6th annual competition wherein innovative and passionate choreographers, emerging through professional, are chosen to experience a three-week residency with Utah Regional Ballet, a feast for the senses and a joy to the soul, February 6-7, 7:30 p.m., Ragan Theatre, $12 general, $8 students, 801-863-7529, or box office located in Noorda Theatre, or Campus Connection, www.uvu.edu/arts.

BALLET WEST, “Swan Lake,” a fairy tale filled with magic, love and beauty, Adam Sklute’s 2010 production makes its return to the Utah stage, February 6-8, 11-15, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, Capitol Theatre, $29-$84, 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787, www.balletwest.org.