Art, especially dance, has a place in Salt Lake City, said Brolly Arts director Amy McDonald Sanyer.
"I wanted to find some way to get people ultimately working together," Sanyer told the Deseret News. "I wanted to find a way to join together and share the creative process with other arts organizations."Brolly Arts and the Repertory Dance Theatre will combine their talents for a night of dance and visual works called "Independent Voices," Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, at the RDT studios, 154 W. Broadway (300 South). The performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
Brolly Arts is an umbrella organization that seeks to provide opportunities for professional artists who represent a variety of disciplines, said founder Sanyer, who was once a dancer for RDT. The organization produces the Utah Choreographers' Lab, an annual workshop that allows professional dancers, choreographers and students to focus on the genre's creative process.
"We are trying to break into new mediums," she explained. "But at the same time, we try to keep the standard high. That's why I wanted to team with RDT for this production. And instead of coming on the scene as a competitor to the other arts organizations, I wanted to enhance and enrich the already established companies in town."
Sanyer called RDT artistic director Linda Smith to see if they could work out a program.
"RDT's studio has that small black box, New York loft sort of feel," said Sanyer. "And though it's only temporary, that space is perfect for showing off the various works well. I asked her if she would provide the venue and she agreed."
"Actually, since 1983, Repertory Dance Theatre has been trying to find its own `black box' studio," said Smith. "I thought it'd come sooner. I had a five-year plan, but it didn't work out that way."
Repertory Dance Theatre was once the resident modern dance company at the University of Utah. When the company moved from the U., Smith looked around and reassessed the company's vision.
"I began thinking what types of performances I'd like to see and what types of settings I'd like to see them in," she said. "There needed to be a place that would be appropriate to present works-in-progress rather than the main stage in a 2,000-seat performance hall.
"I wanted to find a place where we could focus on our choreographic skills," Smith continued. "Some place where people could see dance up close like a loft performance in New York City."
Smith and Sanyer said they hoped the "Independent Voices" performance will turn into a regular event.
"From what I've seen, the works are going to make an evening of stimulating explorations," said Smith. "And hopefully, this performance will be a foreshadowing of things to be done in the future."
"I think the more we can offer the more art will stick around," said Sanyer. "The whole idea is to focus on the emerging artists. The public sometimes focuses its attention on the established artists and, consequently, push the newer artists away. This program is designed specifically to make the public aware of the new artists."
"A major part of our company mission is to present new works," said Smith. "And Brolly Arts' goal is also centered around presenting emerging choreographers. So it was natural to get together."
"Independent Voices" will feature works by Mary Wohl Haan, Marina Harris and Mary Johnston-Coursey.
Haan, who makes her home in Colorado, graduated from the University of Utah and moved to Chicago, where she spent 10 years with the Mordine and Company Dance Theatre as principal dancer and assistant artistic director.
After she moved to Colorado, her works were chosen for the Colorado Choreographers Showcase "Best of Boulder," and she was the first dance artist awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts Recognition Award.
Harris has been associated with RDT for more than 20 years as a counselor and choreographer. In addition to being a recipient of an Individual Artist's Grant from the Utah State Arts Council, Harris has garnered two Choreographer's Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
She also designs and builds costumes for RDT, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and Ballet West.
Coursey formed the Kinetic Cafe, a small dance company in Utah, and has been an active participant in the Utah Choreographer's Lab, which she co-founded with Sanyer.
She lived in Chicago for several years as an independent choreographer, performer and teacher. She was also a part of the Mordine and Company Dance Theatre and is currently teaching at the University of Utah.
General admission tickets for "Independent Voices" are $6 and are available at the door or by calling 583-8904. Seating is limited and early arrival is recommended.