Performers, choreographer dance on Peninsula

Repertory Dance Theatre to offer finale Friday

Ursula Perry is a member of Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah, which comes to the North Olympic Peninsula this week for school visits, an open rehearsal and a concert presented Friday by the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts. (Logan Sorenson)

Ursula Perry is a member of Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah, which comes to the North Olympic Peninsula this week for school visits, an open rehearsal and a concert presented Friday by the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts. (Logan Sorenson)

PORT ANGELES — Friday’s “Quadruple Bill +” will be the finale of the Repertory Dance Theatre’s visit to the North Olympic Peninsula this week.

The troupe will have presented two free public workshops, an open rehearsal and four school visits in two counties before Friday’s concert at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., at 7 p.m.

Tickets, $10 for ages 17 and younger and starting at $20 for adults, are available at JFFA.org and at Port Book and News in downtown Port Angeles. They also will be available at the door.

The Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts, along with internationally known dance artist Bill Evans, who lives in Port Townsend, will present it all. The dance ensemble, known as RDT, lives close to Evans’ heart, since he joined the company 56 years ago.

Kareem Lewis, a member of Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) of Utah, arrives on the North Olympic Peninsula this week for school visits, an open rehearsal and a concert presented Friday by the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts. (Logan Sorenson)

Kareem Lewis, a member of Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) of Utah, arrives on the North Olympic Peninsula this week for school visits, an open rehearsal and a concert presented Friday by the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts. (Logan Sorenson)

RDT is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Evans’ home state. Like him, the dancers share their art all over the nation.

“They are highly diverse, and they come from various parts of the country,” Evans said of RDT’s nine dancers. These performers come from the four directions: Texas, California, Minnesota and Connecticut, with University of Utah dance studies mixed in.

“They have a variety of backgrounds, and they work so harmoniously together,” Evans added. “They are just 100 percent present, and give themselves to the work.”

In addition to the performance Friday night, RDT and Evans’ schedule included two “Movement for People Who Don’t Consider Themselves Dancers” classes, free to the public with Evans teaching, on Tuesday in Port Angeles and Wednesday in Port Townsend; an open rehearsal for the public on Wednesday at the Chapel at Fort Worden State Park on Port Townsend; visits to Salish Coast Elementary School and Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend on Wednesday and Queen of Angels School and Dry Creek Elementary School in Port Angeles today.

The “Quadruple Bill +” concert on Friday is composed of “Petroglyph,” inspired by Evans’ love for the desert landscape; “Crippled Up Blues,” about Utah history; “Hard Times,” about Appalachia, and “Suite Benny,” a sheer-entertainment romp to the music of Benny Goodman.

Evans himself, along with pianist Linda Dowdell and bassist Ted Enderle, plans one more piece, “Blues for My Father.”

The choreographer of some 300 dance works, Evans created those first four pieces for RDT and went to Utah last summer to work up close with the dancers.

Evans’ history with RDT includes being a dancer in the company during its early days from 1967 to 1974. Prior to that, he was a professional ballet dancer based in New York City. At age 27, he joined RDT and dived into a different genre: modern dance.

Those two words, Evans said, form a wide umbrella.

“Modern dance choreography invites people to enter as active viewers … It’s like reading poetry. Each person will interpret it in their own way.”

The two free movement workshops offered participants a chance to experience how dance works are created.

The school visits in both counties are part of JFFA’s programming during Music in the Schools Month, said Executive Director Kyle LeMaire.

“We are so honored to present RDT in concert here,” he said.

“When I was first introduced to the company, I was floored by the talent and the community that RDT has cultivated. I knew right away I wanted them to be a part of our new program,” he added.

With the campus visits, RDT will engage with more than 2,000 students, LeMaire noted.

“As JFFA grows our arts education programming, I could not be happier with our first year. I look forward to the future of bringing more arts education to our community,” he said.

For more information about RDT’s visit and other Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts events, visit JFFA.org, email contact@jffa.org or phone 360-457-5411.

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