Bill Evans returns to Utah with Repertory Dance Theater

Lehi native Bill Evans returns to Utah to celebrate his artistic legacy. Repertory Dance Theater presents a dance evening from September 29th to October 1st at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center to honor their renowned former dancer and choreographer. RDT will present four works by Evans – plus a performance by Evans himself – at the opening concert of their 57th season of Connection.

Bill Evans was a dancer with RDT from 1967 to 1974 and created 20 works for RDT. As a teacher, choreographer and guest performer, he maintains an ongoing relationship with the company and is a member of RDT’s National Advisory Board.

Since 1974, Bill has been an internationally renowned choreographer, performer, teacher, administrator, author and movement analyst. Nearly 300 of Evans’ works have been performed by professional and pre-professional ballet, modern dance and step companies including Bill Evans Dance Company, Ballet West, Ririe-Woodbury, Ruth Page Chicago Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, American Ballet Theater at Jacob’s Pillow, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Chicago Tap Theatre, CODACO of Puebla Mexico and many others.

In QUADRUPLE BILL, RDT will pay tribute to Evans’ immense legacy. His love of American dance and music will take audiences on a joyous artistic journey steeped in the landscapes, stories and culture of the West. The concert shows a wide range of his choreographies created between 1973 and 2017.

When asked to describe his choreography, Evans uses the words somatic, heartfelt and accessible. He elaborates further: “Somatically, because I have explored my physical wisdom, anatomy and physiology to create a movement language and performance style that can communicate directly with the viewer’s sensory apparatus; from the heart, because each of my works has been created to distill in time and space (albeit ephemeral) something that is passionate about me; accessible because I invite the spectator into my dances. I want my dancers to be human and I hope people feel like they can jump on stage and come join us.”

The concert’s earliest track is Hard Times, choreographed in 1973. Using traditional American folk tunes, Hard Times is a nostalgic response to photographs of rural families during the Great Depression and Evans’ travels through the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Crippled up Blues…and other stories by Deseret also use folk music and include the music of Utah’s 3hattrio. Choreographed for RDT’s 50th anniversary in 2015, Evans weaves stories of family, history and western culture.

Naturescape Unfolding, choreographed in 1996, is inspired by the majestic imagery of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in southern Utah. In addition, RDT Suite presents Benny. Originally choreographed in 1987 and updated in 2017, Suite Benny pays homage to the ‘King of Swing’, Benny Goodman, and evokes the ballroom dancing craze that gripped America during the big band era.

At the age of 83, Evans himself will take the stage in Blues for my Father, choreographed in 1987 to showcase his legendary skills as a master of tap and jazz dancing.

Executive/Artistic Director, Linda C. Smith, says, “RDT is proud to present the work of Bill Evans, a dancer, choreographer and teacher who was influential in the development of repertory dance theatre. As one of the most prolific and renowned alumni dancers, Bill is an artistic champion from Utah who continues to inspire us.”

Bill’s dedication to the art of dance has influenced countless artists, educators and audiences worldwide. In more than 300 works, he has explored a diverse lexicon of movement that celebrates the power of dance to invigorate, entertain and enlighten the senses. His choreography celebrates the power of the human spirit.

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