The University of Utah Department of Modern Dance Blog

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Faculty Updates

This fall Stephen Koester created a new duet for Meghan Durham (Ohio State University) and Carl
Rogers (David Dorfman Dance Company, SUNY Brockport faculty). The dance was part of an evening of commissioned duets first performed in Ohio this past December. Steve also directed last year's über-successful SaltDanceFest featuring international artists Paul Selwyn Norton, Vicky Cortes, and Marina Mascarell. And, he is currently working with this year's all-star lineup of artists including Miguel Gutierrez, Kyle Abraham, Netta Yerushalmy and Maura Keefe on this summer’s festival.

In 2011, Pamela Geber presented her original research, “From Science to Art; Experiential Anatomy
to Improvisation and Choreography” at the IADMS’s fall conference in Washington DC and “How Do We Inspire Kinesiological Meaning-Making?” at the summer conference for the Dance Kinesiology Teachers’ Group. She has stepped into the role as Director of Undergraduate Studies at UU and is currently developing a community-based teaching venture involving university students, individuals with Down syndrome and their family members. In addition, Pamela is working with the networking organization, Dance Kinesiology Teachers' Group, on planning the upcoming meetings in summer and fall of 2013. Beyond UU, she has taught professional development at the Teachers’ Workshop for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and for the past 2 summers, she has co-lead visual art/dance workshops for children with local artist and educator, Kindra Fehr.

Cole Adams has been on an upgrading rampage, fundraising and working relentlessly to bring our
art and facilities into the 21st century. The spoils of his quest include grants for energy efficient LED
cyc lights in the MCD theater, new theatrical curtains for entire building, new tempest wireless headset
system, 2 New Lycian Follow spots, new wall of mirrors, ballet studio-floor replacements and he is still
going. The total in dollars of new improvements rings in around $200,000 so far. Not content just raising money for the University; Cole has lent his talents as a board member for SB dance helping them to raise over $20,000. As a teacher, Cole created and taught a new course in production for graduate students in the modern department and is currently developing an introduction to technology course for ballet freshmen to launch next year. Artistically, he serves artists large and small throughout the Salt Lake community and beyond with his technical prowess including concerts with Blood, Sweat and Tears and Olivia Newton-John, a music video for Piano Guys, John Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson and a very large production of the musical AIDA at the Sandy Amphitheater (just to name a few).

Suffering from insomnia? Tossing and turning in bed? Too much nightlife? Jon Scoville has just released his latest cd, A Field Guide to Sleep -- Lullabyes for Adults in collaboration with esteemed jazz pianist Art Lande. In addition he recently completed a score for Juliet Forrest of Goucher College. Jon returns to Salt Lake City in January for his 40th (and final) year. Then it's off to Brazil to work on a music project in Rio.

Meanwhile Tandy Beal has been to Shanghai, Taipei, Jakarta, Jerusalem, Macau and Seoul
working and performing with Bobby McFerrin. She recently directed a circus/a cappella singing/cuisine
adventure called Mangia del Arte. Additionally she was awarded an NEA grant to tour her production of HereAfterHere about what people think happens after we die. She will be bringing it to the Marriott Center for Dance in May. In January Tandy and Jon will celebrate 50 years of being partners & co conspirators.

Abby Lou Fiat recently choreographed a women’s trio for Repertory Dance Theatre that will be
performed in spring 2013 in their Women of Valor Concert. She has begun a phased retirement from
UU, in which she will be teaching for the next two spring semesters. Her grandson is two years old and
is continually reminding her why we dance- to fill our lives and hearts with the joy of movement and
the wonder of the imagination. We will sit down with Abby for an interview this spring to reflect on her
extraordinary career at the U.

Satu Hummasti spent summer 2011 taking workshops in St. Petersburg, Russia and New York City.
While in St. Petersburg, she set a new piece on Kannon Dance Company. She gave birth to little girl Aila on December 20, 2011 and spent Spring 2012 on maternity leave. She returned this fall creating PDC piece "Little Storms," which she hopes to show in France in Spring 2013.

Eric Handman returned to Berlin for the second time in 2012 to teach and present his newest quintet,
Torch, at the Staatlische Balletschule. He will also return for the second time to Costa Rica this
summer to create a new dance on the company members of the Departamento de Producción Escuela
Danza UNA. His choreography software team, with support from the University of Utah Technology
Commercialization Office, copyrighted and trademarked the code for a new Android app, that after a
rigorous period of focus group testing in 2013 will be re-coded for Apple’s iOS and downloadable from the app store. He also just finished shooting new footage for a dance film that he’ll begin thinking about editing in his time off.

Ellen Bromberg’s recent artistic works include: a multi-media performance piece at UC Davis
Department of Theater and Dance, entitled "and the snow fell softly on all the living and the dead…"
in memory of choreographer Della Davidson, her documentary, "Deborah Hay, Not as Deborah Hay,"
premiered at Cinedans Amsterdam in November of '11, (with numerous subsequent screenings in the US and abroad), a collaborative work with Lisa Wymore “The Somnambulist’s Dream” commissioned by the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies, UC Berkeley, and “Dancing the Green Map,” a video design for a work by Zvi Gottheiner for Repertory Dance Theater. Ellen has also received the 2012 Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award, from the University of Utah Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Technology Venture Development, the Granada Artist-in-Residence Fellowship, UC Davis Department of Theater and Dance, Davis, CA 2011, The Townsend Center for the Humanities Fellowship Award, from the UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. She has also been a guest lecturer and panelist at The Leonardo Museum, Mills College, and Townsend Center for the Humanities, CITRIS-Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, and the Berkeley Center for New Media, Arts Research Center.

During the fall of 2011, Juan Carlos Claudio developed the first International Dance and Educational
Student Exchange Program: Panamá. The exchange was a huge success and as a result the program is receiving national recognition including a featured story in the December issue of Dance Magazine. In addition, he continues to perform with SB Dance on a regular basis, and co-directs the Saturday Studio Series for the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. Juan Carlos’ next endeavors are to continue to develop innovative community and service learning programs within the department, as well as to create new projects for the students not only nationally, but globally.

Sharee Lane spent the summer choreographing and teaching at the Snowy River Summer Dance Festival and serving as a guest artist and adjudicator for the Montana Dance Arts Association. In Spring
2012 Sharee lead the second international exchange to Berlin (link to Berlin article) and brought in
distinguished guest artist Elaine Kudo to stage “Sweet Fields” by world renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp for PDC. Since joining the modern dance department, Sharee has worked unceasingly to raise the standard of excellence in ballet among modern students utilizing her connections in the field to provide unparalleled training and networking opportunities for students. In addition she continues to grow in her contemporary choreography creating works for PDC that combine her high level of classical technical prowess with fresh exploration. Outside UU, Sharee has been a guest teacher at Ballet West and the Cincinnati ballet.

In July and August of 2012, Rob Wood served as Director of Music for the National Choreography
Intensive sponsored by Regional Dance America. A much in demand ballet accompanist, Rob travels
each year to play at national and international workshops and festivals including accompanying UU
students to Berlin last spring. Ron has also begun co-teaching Elements of Music with Jon Scoville and
now directs the graduate thesis concert.

Fall 2012 Guest Artists

In addition to a three-week residency with John Beasant at the beginning of fall semester, the Department of Modern Dance continued its guest artist series by hosting choreographers Elena
Demyanenko and Yannis Adoniou for six-week residencies, as well as welcoming distinguished alumni award recipient and independent choreographer, Keith Johnson, and presenting master classes by Royal Ballet School Assistant Director, Jay Jolley, Ririe Woodbury Artistic Director, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, and Dancers from the Trey Mcintyre Project. The throughline of inquiry inspired by this diversity of aesthetics, styles and creative processes was an in-depth investigation into movement quality.

Elena Demyanenko, a former member of the Trisha Brown dance company, initiated this line of research by bringing a somatic approach to technique classes, based in Body Mind Centering technique. Utilizing anatomical imagery, breath, meditative floor work, repetition with variation, subtle partner and self manipulation, she offered dancers a more nuanced and refined qualitative ability rooted in internal understanding.

San Francisco based choreographer and dancer Yannis Adoniou followed. His singular approach to technique class employed vocalization, improvisation, visualization, touch and the natural world combined with rigorous classical technique. Working integrally with class accompanists, he pushed dancers to discover more sensate dancing through the interpretation of vibrations and clear identification of different movement consistencies.

Both Elena and Yannis also created new choreographic works while in residence. Elena
worked collaboratively with third year graduate students to deconstruct habitual movement
patterns, and investigate their personal narratives in a piece entitled “Becoming,” that
premiered in November at the Bare Bones Graduate Concert. Yannis has choreographed a new
work "Naivete in Minor," for the Spring PDC concert that allows the performers to explore an
inner journey of sensation while sharing the personal and individually felt physicalization of
the work. With a stunning stage design infused with interactive digital technology, the piece
features many vignettes of human experience that range from the vast and chaotic to the
subtlest moments of connection between us.

Additional masterclasses have been interspersed throughout the term offering students a
glimpse of the multiplicity of voices that constitute the contemporary dance landscape and
providing them fresh opportunities to apply the skills and understandings acquired in their
technique classes to new contexts.

Currently Daniel Squires former member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company is setting a Cunningham Repertory work for Spring PDC and offering classes in Cunningham technique.

In March visiting artist Sidra Bell will be in residence to create a new work for the
senior class and teach across the curriculum.