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Hot and Indie or Family Friendly, There's Some Dance for You

Karen Anne Webb fills us in on this month’s dance goings on, including independent shows from Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK series and SB Dance and The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s launch of its annual family program.


Rose Wagner Center
(138 W. 300 South)

Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4
7:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $15 and are available through ArtTix (


"Palpate” is a compelling evening of dance and film featuring the work of University of Utah modern dance professors Pamela Geber and on- and offstage partner Eric Handman. “Nothing on the bill is a literal story,” says Geber, “but all have strong emotional content—the sort that gets under your skin.”

The show is the latest presentation of Repertory Dance Theatre’s LINK program, which arranges funds and performance space for emerging and daring artists. Performing on Feb. 3 and 4 at the Rose Wagner Center, the duo will present both their own work and that of choreographers whom they admire.

“We’ve been collecting repertory for a duet concert for about three years now,” says Geber. “One nice thing about working independently is you get the luxury of selecting works you love and think will work for you. On the other hand, it means you’re the one who has to write the grants for the money to acquire the pieces.”

Acquired pieces on the bill include David Dorfman’s “approaching no calm” and an excerpt from Susan Marshall’s “Interior with Seven Figures.” Geber says that both are challenging pieces: “In terms of content, both have a lot of substance and are athletic without being fussy.”

Both also demand skill from the male and female partner—the man isn’t there just to tote the woman around the stage. “approaching no calm,” although fraught with a we’ve-all-had-relationships-like-this tension, conveys a sense of equality between man and woman. Limiting her vocabulary to pedestrian moves, Marshall still deals in a wide spectrum of emotional relationships.

“Belle Epoque” is a collaborative duet that the couple has revisited since they developed it in 1999. “Developing the piece together was a surprisingly easy process,” says Handman. “In this case, we started with the music,” which consists of two art songs by Reynaldo Hahn. “One of us would come up with some gestures or movement phrases; the other responded essentially by moving through the first person’s negative space. There are no unison movements in the piece, but there are many kinds of physical contact from lifts to contact improv movements to ballroom dancing.”

Handman created “Dark Room” (as in, where one develops film) as a dance for the camera piece. He began with raw footage of Geber dancing improvised movements when she was far along in her pregnancy with their daughter. He then had her continue to move while he projected the original set of movements behind her.
“I didn’t know exactly where I was going with the raw footage,” he recalls. “It was never meant to be a film about pregnancy! But I think as I looked at being a parent, I was forced into contemplation of my own mortality in relation to this new life, and of existential questions. So, in the end, it’s a meditation on mortality. I hope I’ve created not a metaphor but a metaphorical space, a condition from which people can draw meaning.”

Rounding out the bill is Geber’s solo “Attic,” which has gone through a number of incarnations from group to solo work, but still conveys the concept of a woman consumed by her own inner world.

SB Dance presents less of a concert than a celebration of “Utah’s subversive side.” The company will be transforming the Black Box Theatre at the Rose into an exhibit of paintings, prints and drawings, each representing the creator’s own private universe. The exhibit itself will be open from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 to 28, during which time the company will also be rehearsing. Admission is free.

The concert itself, “Juicy Bits,” features favorite selections from SB Dance full-length works. Included are cuts from “The Bucket,” “Ballet Noir,” “Specimen” and “Cirque de Me.”

Juicy Bits
SB Dance
Capitol Theatre
(50 W. 200 South)

Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27 at 28
8 p.m.
Tickets cost $15 and are available through ArtTix (


Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company will perform “Mama Eddy’s Right On Boarding House,” a show for the child in all of us. Mama Eddy’s weaves seven dances into a fanciful journey through an old Salt Lake City boarding house full of strange travelers, mysterious sounds and wonderful surprises. Included on the narrated journey are excerpts from Doug Nielsen’s “Short Stem Roses,” Doug Varone’s “Apple Honey,” Jerry Pearson’s “Sticks & Balls,” Joan Woodbury’s “Seated but Not Settled” and “Dummy Waltz,” Tandy Beal’s “Big Ball, My Friend” and Laura Dean’s “Tenmile.” The show will even include some audience participation.  
Mama Eddy’s Right On Boarding House

Capitol Theatre
(50 W. 200 South)

Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27
at 7 p.m. and 28 at 2 p.m.
Tickets cost $15 to $45 and are
available through ArtTix

karen [at]    




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