Women Choreographers Take the Lead in Salt Lake City

Opening with a comedic premiere, SuperWomen began as Celine David and McCall McClellan showed us both their hilarious and athletic sides. Casual and colorful clothing transformed into the classic high leotards and tights we all know and love. This also included a seamless mix of ambient music with ’80s pop that was such a pleasant opening to this fabulous show. These two were the perfect pair, with their wit, facial expressions and beautiful spoken word. This was all in addition to their athletic dancing and smooth sweeps along the floor. Never in my life have I so quickly gone from crying to laughing in such a short span of time. It was a pleasure to share the space with these two and be brought into their small tales of lives they have lived so far, all while witnessing athleticism at its finest.

Next we were graced with a previously performed duet from 2021. This was a fabulous introduction to these dancers new to the Salt Lake scene. This duet was aesthetically pleasing with no bumps or mishaps. Never missing a beat, Hannah Hardy and Brady Swanson were perfectly in sync with every move and lift. Liz Dibble’s choreography was subtle and clean with interesting gestures that perfectly aligned with what was being heard by the audience. Just like the comedic duet, these dancers swept along and transitioned seamlessly between partnering and the floor. Both technicality and musicality shown through within this three-and-a-half minute piece. There is no doubt in my mind that these dancers have legs for days and are capable of anything they are asked. Liz could not have asked for a better pairing and it was a treat being able to see this duet again after its premiere.

Sedimented Here, a screendance directed by Rachel Barker, was up third. Barker is based in Southern Utah, and the sound of movement on rock, sand and water was the main soundtrack. Coming only from the dancers’ movement in contact with their surroundings, it was such a refreshing and beautiful break in the program. The level of commitment both from the dancers and the team was astonishing and beautiful to see. Scraping along the circular cavities of rock formations, sweeping through a nearby river and flipping through the sand, these dancers had no fear with their environment.  Their collaborative choreography reminded me of natural humanistic and creature/bug-like movements. Dressed in red and orange-hued clothing, dancers were dripping wet, pouring out sand, and yet they kept going like there was no care in the world. Overall, the camera work, choreography and dancers were all stunning, so much that I wish it had gone on longer.

Next, McCall McClellan came back to grace us with a beautiful solo entitled Phoenix. In collaboration again with Liz Dibble, this piece showcased both the powerhouse that McCall is and again her fabulous use of facial expressions. It was such a pleasure to see an artist without a mask who used their face to amplify the movement being shown. McCall was never over the top and still let the dancing speak for itself. Strong and musical, Phoenix was the perfect word for this solo. Just like the bird, she portrayed a strong, stable and expansive persona.

After Phoenix, Alexandra Bradshaw-Yerby was welcomed back to her previous Ririe-Woodbury stage. As a previous member of the company, it was a joy to see her back in Salt Lake City and performing a multi-layered solo. Alexandra was enticing to watch with her spirals, presence, and long lines. She encompasses all it means to be a performer, with a stage presence unlike any other. Even while facing away from the audience and stepping in rhythm to “Total Eclipse Of The Heart,” her performance radiated to us through her backspace. This ’80s break was shown stripped down from the long sleeve jumpsuit she started in. It occurred with Alexandra in shorts and a pink sparkly top that was enhanced by the beautiful lighting. From the sparkly top, she then removed it to reveal a bra top before changing again to end in the jumpsuit she originally started in. Dear Jane showed us the different stages of life and how Alexandra personally dealt with things in life. The ending was a great conclusion to see her standing there in front and circling back around to her starting position, stating “This is who I am.”

Lastly, we were blown away by the premiere of Kaleidoscope with this brand new cast. This geometric, clean and almost-dystopian ensemble took my breath away. It was a fabulous surprise from what I assumed this piece would be from the name of the title. In addition to previous performers from the first half of the show, we saw some of our favorite local dancers ,Jon Kim and Daniel Do, join this fantastic team of movers. Rachel Barker and her cast were flawless with their use of props and keeping in sync with each other. As time went on, each dancer had their moment to break away from the unison and orders of the group to show who they are as a mover. They assisted each other with purpose and grace, throwing and lifting each other with care. Again, the music emphasized the movement and musicality was a beautiful highlight of the piece. Never missing a beat or step, it was obvious how much time and effort these dancers put into this piece. Overall, Kaleidoscope was the perfect ending to such a wonderful show. SuperWomen was a stunning show that is just a sliver of what Women Choreographers are doing in the dance world and how much support is shown for them in the Salt Lake community.

SUPERWOMEN, an evening of dance by Rachel Barker, was performed Mar. 31 – Apr. 2 at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center

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Categories: Dance

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