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RDT offers Utah premiere of `Chairs' Friday in S.L.

Choreographer Zvi Gotheiner said he was a bit leery lending his work "Chairs" to the Repertory Dance Theatre.

"This is the first time a company, other than my own, will be doing this piece," Gotheiner said during a rehearsal break while in Salt Lake City. "This is a dear piece to me."The Repertory Dance Theatre will give "Chairs" a Utah premiere Friday, Feb. 6, at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway, at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances will be Feb. 7, 11-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 8 at 2 p.m.

Gotheiner said he feels "Chairs," which his company - Zvi Gotheiner & Dancers - world premiered in 1991, was a work that was just waiting to happen.

"I began working on the piece when I was at a certain point in my life," Gotheiner said. "It is the first work that I choreographed in which I didn't dance. It was a time for me to stop dancing. And the chairs are symbolic for me to sit down."

Gotheiner, a native Israeli, experimented with different kinds of groupings for "Chairs," he said.

"I worked with solos, duets, trios, quartets and quintets," Gotheiner said. "It pertains to the concept of individuality vs. conformity, the conflict of wills. It was a blissful kind of process working this piece. Like it almost needed to be discovered."

The props in the work, oddly enough, are chairs. And Gotheiner used them to create visual boundaries in the selection.

"The chairs became a cinematic landscape," the choreographer explained. "They define borders of space and create corners of smaller rooms and even porches.

"The chairs are also used to suggest the world we live in," Go-thei-ner said.

Gotheiner is a permanent resident of the United States. He has called New York his home for nearly 10 years.

The choreographer began his arts training on the violin when he was 11. He was part of the Young Kibbutzim Orchestra and the Upan Orchestra of Beit Shean where he became soloist and concert master at the tender age of 15.

When he was 17, Gotheiner turned his focus to dance and began creating works that were critically acclaimed at the Conference of Israeli Choreographers.

The dancer ventured to New York on a dance scholarhip from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and studied with Maggie Black and attended the schools of Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey.

He has been a member of the Joyce Trisler Dance Company, the Bat-Sheva Dance Company and co-founded the Israeli Chamber Dance Company as well as directed the Tamar (Ramle Dance Theatre) and the Jerusalem Tamar Dance Company.

In 1978, Gotheiner founded ZGD, which oversees Zvi Gotheiner & Dancers. He is the recipient of an artist fellowship in choreography from New York Foundation for the Arts and received the Weiselberg Award from the National Arts Club.

This isn't the first time Gotheiner has worked with RDT. The company world premiered his work "Erosion - Utah Landscape #1" in 1993.

"We really developed a good relationship then," Gotheiner said. "That's the main reason why I felt having (RDT) do `Chairs' will be alright."

RDT artistic director Linda C. Smith said Gotheiner's work allows the dancers to get in tune with themselves artistically.

"When working with Zvi's work, you find yourself not only fulfilled by it, but learning something about choreography," Smith said. "I knew this work would affect the dancers in a holistic way. It is truly a work of art. It feeds us."