Displaying items by tag: Modern Dance

We’re so excited that joining the team of brilliant and dedicated student advocates is CFA alum, Rachel Luebbert!

“Our academic advisors provide integral components of our Create Success Initiative, which is our program dedicated to facilitating student success,” said Liz Leckie, the CFA’s Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs. “And we’re looking forward to continuing our tradition of strong evidence-based advising with Rachel on our team.”

Academic advisors are educators and problem solvers who advocate for students as they navigate their personal journeys through higher education and attain their academic goals. Through inclusion and connection, academic advisors open doors to new opportunities for self-awareness and growth, empowering students to define their roles as citizens within local and global communities.

Rachel graduated from the University of Utah with a BFA in Modern Dance, a BA in Spanish, and a minor in Business. Upon leaving Salt Lake, Rachel worked at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival to develop accessible programming at this long running festival. Later, she moved to DC where she worked as an arts administrator, dance teacher, and stage manager. Outside of work, Rachel loves experiencing arts events and museums, traveling, reading, and creating dance work. Rachel is so excited to be back in Salt Lake working with the incredible students of the College of Fine Arts.

“I came to academic advising because I am passionate about the value of an arts education and the advocacy of student success,” Luebbert said. “As an advisor, I aspire to help students navigate the University based on their individualized needs. I value connecting students with opportunities and resources that are meaningful and important to their holistic experience.”

Help us welcome Rachel!

Published in Finer Points Blog

Ten Modern Dance Program seniors will present the first weekend of their Senior Concert show, Xx, a show that highlights variability, exponential growth, and the undefined. Each evening of dance will culminate in a performance of guest choreographer Lauren Edson’s new work created with the senior class.

Xx represents the 2019 graduating class of Modern Dance Program seniors, a group of twenty rising women artists—all with two x-chromosomes. Beyond the aptness in its description of the graduating class, Xx also embodies the spirit of Senior Concert; involving change, power, and development. Xx celebrates the artistic, choreographic and technical prowess the senior class has cultivated during their time at the University of Utah.

Natalie Anderton’s piece begins with movement taken from traditional hip hop and other street styles. The piece has transformed into a style of movement she has never experienced before and Anderton is excited to see how her dancers take on this “alien” inspired piece.

Alli Ball investigates the paradox of emotion throughout daily life. She asks how we are able to feel two contrasting emotions simultaneously.

Jessica Baynes presents a lively, contemporary quartet inspired by the mechanics of trains and explores the following actions: attack, respond, and follow-through. It is performed to a Flamenco-inspired sound score and experiments with risk, athleticism and contact.

Elissa Collins explores how mental health affects the way that we physically respond to our world.

Kaelin Kaczka pays homage to the #MeToo Movement, drawing inspiration from the Sirens of Greek mythology and using movement to kinesthetically narrate the personal experiences of so many.

Ali Lorenz research involves the similarities between our world’s natural phenomena and our own emotions, working with concepts that work deep within the earth and as well as within ourselves.

Madaline Maravillas’s piece has become an intimate look into how we view certain people in our lives and the visceral responses conjured by those people: people you miss, people you need and people you love.

Aileen Norris focuses on joy in absurdity, conflict in connection and resolution in chaos.

Ruby Pfeiffer explores self-empowerment and how we are all fighting to find who we are while at the same time using people around us as a gauge. There is uniqueness in all of us, not just as a lone being but also within a community.

Eliza Zenger’s piece brings three words to mind: individuality, bounce and flow. She is interested in the dancers’ pathways, individually and collectively, and how that frames space.

This evening of new dance ends with a performance by the senior class in a work choreographed by Boise-based Lauren Edson. The work explores themes of hope, desperation, and community.

When: 2/28 at 5:30P, 3/1 at 5:30P and 3/2 at 7:30P
Where: The Marriott Center for Dance.
Tickets: Senior Concert I: Xx is free to University of Utah students through Arts Pass. General admission tickets are $12. 

Published in Finer Points Blog

by  Rachel Luebbert.

“Starting from the Point Where It Stopped” is a show of celebration and risk. This diverse concert features the choreography and performance of the 2018 modern dance seniors. These 20 individuals have spent the last four years dancing and creating. This show will be a culmination of their individual and collective movement explorations that together celebrate their progressions and exciting creations.

The modern dance seniors received Fine Arts Fee Grant funding to commission Ihsan Rustem, the resident choreographer of Northwest Dance Project, to create an original dance work that will close each night of the show. This piece is a collection of solos, duets, and group sections that are woven together to feature the individual movement expressions of these dancers. This piece was born out of an intensive two-week rehearsal process. Rustem began by prompting movement exercises to generate a collective group aesthetic. He asked students to move separate body parts together while accentuating the movement between these spaces. Where is the body taken if the knee and shoulder are moved together? What if the elbow and heel meet? This detailed exploration was applied to both solos and duets to create enough material for an 80-minute work. Through insightful editing, Rustem layered different phrases within the structure of a three-part sound score. First, there is a calm, Zen melody, followed by a driving, pounding phrase, that ends with the eerie song “Until We Bleed” by Kleerup.

The two weekends present completely distinct shows, with each weekend showcasing the choreographic work of half of the seniors. Noriko Bell, Jilliam Shipman, and Leah Gultrand are just a few of the seniors whose work will be premiered during the first weekend. Bell’s “The Bonds Between” is born from the exploration of the physical residue of human relationships. In her creative process, Bell and 10 dancers created movement that physicalized the essence of different human connections in their lives. Bell explains, “This piece explores past, present, and future relationships that are formed throughout life and how these relationships create our journeys.” “The Bonds Between” creates an intricate web of conversations between dancers, movement, and different relationships that are so inherent to the human experience. 

Shipman has spent the past few months researching the connection of the body and the ground. Using floorwork as a stimulus, this piece considers the effect of an audience’s gaze on movement. Shipman has explored the dialectic of what is seen and unseen and how this influences the creation and performance of movement. The four dancers in this piece will be wearing black halter leotards and their limbs will be painted. This paint intends to draw the audience’s gaze to the arms and legs as they push in and out of the floor. This work presents an intriguing awareness to the presence of the audience and this relationship to the performed movement.

Gulstrand’s piece “Shine On” is a solo inspired by the early 1970s. Not only does this time period inform the musical score of this work, but Gulstrand also dives into the social and political issues of this time and their relationship to social movements today. There is an intriguing dialogue that transcends time and space to acknowledge the continual marginalization experienced in the U.S.. “Shine On” gives voice to the complex struggle of different identities for human rights. Through the creative process, Gulstrand acknowledged the experiences of African Americans, women, Native Americans, and immigrants in the 1970s and today.

Each senior has spent months developing ideas, pursuing creative research, and fine tuning their pieces. Together this show presents a collage of dance works that showcase athleticism, humor, narrative, and artistry. Come join us for a night of art and dance that celebrates risk and creation.

First Weekend - April 5 at 5:30PM, April 6 and 7 at 7:30PM
Second Weekend - April 12 at 5:30PM, April 13 and 14 at 7:30PM
Marriott Center for Dance, Hayes Christensen Theatre
*Free with U Artspass (Ucard) for U of U students
$12 Adults, $8 Other Students, Faculty, Seniors


Published in Finer Points Blog

The University of Utah School of Dance presents a modern dance concert entitled: Fugue featuring choreography by MFA candidates: Brianna Lopez, Dat Nguyen, Louisa Rankin, and Rebekah Ryan. The concert will be a compilation of the four artists’ thesis research, presented on the Hayes Christensen Theater stage in the Marriott Center for Dance. Like the layered musical composition and the surreal state of altered consciousness, Fugue explodes the boundaries of modern dance and uses movement to entice, enlighten, and push the limits of thought and curiosity.

Brianna Lopez aspires to reimagine desire as an autonomous act and an intuitive response that welcomes a transparent, accessible, and sensate body. Her work aims to conceptualize the ways in which we think about the body and its desires through metaphor, imagery, and sensation—in order to influence new ways of experiencing embodiment.

Dat Nguyen investigates the idea of dance as being “anti-spectacle” by establishing a playground on which multiple ideas exchange and interrupt each other constantly. Dat hopes that his research will allow him to uproot the social/cultural structure (consciously or subconsciously) that perpetually turns dance and other art forms into spectacles to be consumed.

Louisa Rankin investigates the term “isolation” and how it can be explored and explained through movement. Set to the gritty and melodic music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, this work is specifically geared towards situations in which isolation exists in our current lives and experiences – places of personal discovery/revelation, illness, anxiety/fear of rejection, incongruity, guilt, secrets, and narcissism.

Rebekah Ryan’s interests draw attention to the adaptive body. She researches how the body accepts and thrives under the pressure and demand for change. Her work fuses various genres of dance and instrumental sounds together in attempts to orchestrate an encompassing strength of diversity and reorientation.

Show Dates and Times:
November 30th at 5:30 p.m.
December 1st & 2nd at 7:30 p.m.

Located at the Marriott Center for Dance, University of Utah. Tickets available online or at the door: FREE with the U Artspass (UID) for University of Utah students/$12 Adults/$8 Students, Faculty, Seniors. For more information visit the School of Dance.

Published in Finer Points Blog

Marty Buhler’s Screendance Film, Three on Four, is wowing audiences at home in Utah as well as far away ones in Finland. Buhler, a Utah native, arrived at the Screendance medium by way of musical theater, which is where he gained his first exposure to a technical dancing class and fell in love with the art form. While studying dance at the U, he saw a video project created by Tori Duhaime, which inspired him to create his own film.

Written by guest writer and MFA Student Sarah Taylor.

Screendance goes back to 1999 when the Department of Modern Dance presented its first International Dance for Camera Festival and Workshop. Founded and Directed by Distinguished Professor Ellen Bromberg, the festival was an annual event until 2002, after which it has continued on a bi-annual or tri-annual basis. In 2001, in conjunction with the Festival, a student competition was inaugurated. As a completely student run event (funded by College Fine Arts Fee Grants), this component has been adjudicated by professional dance filmmakers, educators and festival producers over the years, providing students with an opportunity to learn about the jury process. In recent years, a cash award for the Best of Festival was inaugurated.

“Three on Four is about the re-imagination of sound and movement. Through the decorporealization of both body and sound, I created choreography and a sound score that emerged from within the elements given. Creating a new work that does not exist in the corporeal sense. Like most of my ideas, I see visual images of what I want to create. For this one, I saw three men at a table doing gestural phrases. From there I decided I wanted to create a sound score using both movement and editing to create new choreography.”

— Marty Buhler

After Buhler’s initial first two projects, Transmit and Alter Prism, Buhler enrolled in a Screendance class where he gained an understanding of how to improve his work, and then created “Three on Four.”

To say that Three on Four has been well received may be an understatement. The film won first place the Utah Dance Film Festival, an excerpt is currently in Finland’s top 10 for 60 Seconds Dance and is the official selection for both the International Music Video Underground Festival and the Iowa International Screendance Festival. In March, “Three on Four” was selected to been shown at 12 Minutes Max, a monthly showcase of short new works and works-in-progress by local Utah artists at the Salt Lake City Public Library. When asked about the film’s success, Buhler expressed surprise. “I was so happy when I saw that I won first place at UDFF, then when it was selected internationally as a semifinalist for 60 Seconds Dance, I knew it was something special. As of now it has been selected for every festival I have submitted. In fact, I feel that because of all the success on the first try, I feel a lot of pressure to figure out how to make the next one even better.”

The combination of film and dance has been ideal for Buhler, who hasn’t always felt confident in his skills and talents. He says, “this has given me the confidence to get to where I’m at now. I know I have a long way to go, but to go from feeling like a nobody to having my work being seen worldwide ...I feel very blessed.”

Buhler has had positive experience in the Modern Program, which he feels has allowed him to find his voice and passion for dance and art. “I feel so honored to have Ellen Bromberg here at the U to teach Screendance. I feel very blessed to have her as faculty and an advisor for my projects. I feel that the Modern program has given me the artistic tools to create dance and screendance has given me a different medium to portray dance.”


You can view and vote for Three on Four in the 60 Seconds Dance International competition here.

Published in Finer Points Blog