Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company History
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company was founded in 1964 by two Utah women, Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe, who were both professors of dance at the University of Utah. Their passion for dance included not only performing, choreographing, and teaching, but was accompanied by a deep commitment to the value of dance for everyone and its necessity in the education of youth.
Over the years, the Company has grown from a predominantly local to what is now an internationally renowned modern dance company, having performed in every state in the U.S. as well as Europe, South Africa, the Philippines and the British Isles. With an eye towards the future, the Company is in transition from its founding co-directors to a new generation of Artistic and Managing Directors. Still strongly committed to education, the Company now performs not only the works of American master Alwin Nikolais, but those by both cutting-edge and emerging choreographers as well, including works by Company Artistic Director, Charlotte-Boye Christensen.
A Portrait of the Company
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company looks forward to celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season in 2013-14. Always striving to be at the forefront of contemporary dance the Company provides audiences with a variety of choreographic styles in a single evening, with extraordinary repertory ranging from pure dance to multi-media works.
The beginning performances and collaborations became the foundation for what is now an internationally renowned modern dance company having performed in every state in the U.S. as well as the British Isles, Canada, China, Eastern and Western Europe, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, and the Virgin Islands.
The Company not only has works by its founders, Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury, but commissions new and re-created works from emerging choreographers as well as seasoned professionals. Past choreographers include Murray Louis, Tandy Beal, Moses Pendleton and Alison Chase, Steven Koester, Laura Dean, Anne Carlson, Doug Varone, Della Davidson, Joe Goode, Douglas Nielsen, Pascal Rioult, Seán Currin, Daniel Ezralow, John Utans, Alicia Sanchez, Carolyn Carlson, Wayne McGregor, Karole Armitage, John Jaspers, Bill T. Jones and Company, and Artistic Director Charlotte Boye-Christensen.
Located in downtown Salt Lake City, the Company performs four different shows, annually, in the Capitol Theatre and Jeanné Wagner Center for the Performing Arts. Along with Alberto del Saz from the Nikolais/Louis Foundation, the Company is now committed to keeping alive and performing the Nikolais legacy in conjunction to our commitment to expanding our contemporary repertory.
The Company is presently the only professional dance company licensed to perform a full evening of dance by the legendary genius, Alwin Nikolais. In collaboration with the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance Inc. Ririe-Woodbury began a series of performances of Nikolais’ work in 2003 touring four weeks in the U.S, including the prestigious Joyce Theater in N.Y, plus four weeks internationally. Those tours have increased over the years to include the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, and multiple weeks in France, Italy, and Spain respectively, At the end of this season the Company will perform Nikolais Repertory for seven weeks in France.
Ririe-Woodbury’s dedication to performance is matched by an insistence on dance education that has garnered Ririe-Woodbury worldwide recognition for encouraging dancers on all levels. This integral part of the Company’s mission began in the 1970’s as a charter selection into the National Endowment for the Arts’ Dance Touring and Artists in the Schools programs. It continues today with our education programs Step Lively, Step Up, Step Out, Step Hop Jump, and a Master Class for advanced & professional dancers enriching the variety and quality of learning in classrooms and the community throughout Utah and the nation. These efforts have helped integrate movement and dance into numerous elementary, high school and university curricula.
Today, Managing Director Jena Woodbury, Artistic Director Charlotte Boye-Christensen and Education Director Gigi Arrington are committed that the mission continues to make dance a viable part of everyone’s lives, whether as observers, critics, performers or creators. Ririe-Woodbury’s performances and educational undertakings are both a reflection of the Company’s philosophy that…