by Sarah Thompson
All dance, or any other form of art, must be able to stand on its own, to be appreciated for what it offers. One need not be a scholar or artist to enthusiastically enjoy dance or any other form of art, and in fact, an approach that is too intellectual may detract from the emotional appreciation of art.
At the same time, an awareness of the history and development of any art form can deepen one’s appreciation and understanding of it and highlight references and allusions that might otherwise be missed.
For example, both West Side Story and Young Frankenstein are wonderful, enjoyable films in their own right. But West Side Story is undoubtedly enhanced by the awareness that it is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s eternal Romeo and Juliet and some of the humor of Young Frankenstein would be lost if one had never seen the original Frankenstein.
So, while the invitation to approach modern dance without preconception, academic interpretation, or even a requirement that one “like” all of it remains intact, Repertory Dance Theatre is extending a complementary invitation to learn more about modern dance and its history at “Time Capsule: A Century of Dance”, Nov. 16 and 17 at the Rose Wagner Center.
“Time Capsule” is a quick, yet impressively comprehensive, survey of the past century of modern dance, showing the evolution of modern dance and the social and political context in which it evolved. It will include dances by 16 icons of modern dance including Isadora Duncan, the “mother” of modern dance, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn of the famed Denishawn School which in turn launched the careers of many other dance legends including Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, and Doris Humphrey (all represented in this performance), Michio Ito who fused modern and traditional Japanese dance, Merce Cunningham who focused on movement for its own sake and introduced randomness into his works, Helen Tamiris who explored social themes via jazz, spiritual music and dance, and Susan McLain who was an integral part of the Utah modern dance scene for many years.
“Time Capsule” promises to be entertaining, informative and provocative, offering something for everyone with an interest in dance or performance.
If you’re interested in the history of modern dance, or simply would like to gain a greater appreciation for this art form, you may wish to check out “Time Capsule: A Century of Dance.” More information and tickets are available at www.rdtutah.org.