On Stage

Repertory Dance Theatre

A century of artistic exploration

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WHAT: Repertory Dance Theatre presents “Time Capsule: A Century of Dance” as part of the Mount Baker Theatre’s 19th Education Series season
WHEN: 10am Wed., Jan. 14
WHERE: Mount Baker Theatre
COST: $6-$7.50
INFO: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

WHAT: Modern Dance Master Class with Repertory Dance Theatre
WHEN: 6-7:30pm Wed., Jan. 14
WHERE: Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave.
COST: $12
INFO: 676-4113, ext. 3 or http://www.dancegallery.org

WHAT: Repertory Dance Theatre Performance
WHEN: 8pm Fri., Jan. 16
WHERE: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.
COST: $20-$35
INFO: 734-6080 or http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is thought to have been painted between 1503-1506, and its continued longevity over the centuries has ensured that people around the world know as much (or more) about the artist and his masterworks as did those who first saw what is now the best-known piece of art in the world.

While visual artists have concrete, viewable examples of the contributions they have made to history, those who have created masterpieces in other creative genres—such as dance—aren’t always as lucky.

For decades, Utah’s Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) has been aiming to change that. Since 1966, the modern dance company based in Salt Lake City has been both commissioning new works for its repertory as well as working hard to acquire classic works by significant 20th century choreographers.

“Repertory Dance Theatre is dedicated to the creation, performance, perpetuation and appreciation of modern dance,” the ensemble’s mission statement clarifies. “RDT is the oldest and most successful company of its kind—a living museum representing 100 years of dance history, preserving the largest and most significant collection of American dance in the world.”

In addition to their commanding performances—more on that shortly—the movers and shakers at RDT believe that audiences of all ages should be privy to their educational tools.

In fact, before their big show Jan. 16 at the Mount Baker Theatre, the RDT crew will have already spent some time with the Bellingham community.

First off, they’ll be front and center to kick off the 19th year of Mount Baker Theatre’s Education Series at 10am Wed., Jan. 14. A lecture and demonstration titled “Time Capsule: A Century of Dance (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Modern Dance, But Were Afraid to Ask)” will provide a guided tour through a 100-year legacy of dance.

While many of those in attendance at the multimedia retrospective will be kids bussed in from various edifices of learning in the Bellingham School District—last year saw 17,000 area students take part in the educational series—“Time Capsule” is appropriate for just about anybody interested in the birth and evolution of modern dance.

Later that night, Bellingham’s Dance Gallery will host a “Modern Dance Master Class” led by members of RDT’s ensemble. The event at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center is open to the community, and promises to put the legacy of movement into living, breathing practice.

By the time they head onstage for their performance at the MBT, it’s likely the dancers and choreographers of Repertory Dance Theatre will have already met and interacted with a variety of community members, making their audience one that also includes new friends.

Even if you haven’t been part of the “Time Capsule” presentation or learned modern dance moves at the Firehouse, you can still expect to leave the Jan. 16 show with a solid understanding of what has transpired in the dance world in the last century, whether it’s a masterwork by Isador Duncan or Doris Humphrey, a revolutionary piece by Merce Cunningham, or a new dance by a choreographer who hasn’t made history—at least not yet.

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