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Dance inspired by Brazilian music

Choreographer creates drama through duets

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RDT dancers Chien-Ying Wang, front, and Thayer Jonutz rehearse "Duets to Brazilian-Indian Music."

RDT dancers Chien-Ying Wang, front, and Thayer Jonutz rehearse “Duets to Brazilian-Indian Music.”

Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

When Zvi Gotheiner heard the music of Marlui Miranda, he knew he had to choreograph something for it.

"I was fortunate for my company to tour Brazil and to teach there," Gotheiner said during an interview in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. "One of the dancers there received a CD as a gift and played it for me. It was unlike anything I had ever heard. I had to do something after I heard it."

Miranda, a world-renowned Brazilian composer, had recorded indigenous music in the rain forest and arranged the works for this music. And Gotheiner began putting together a work that would be called simply "Duets to Brazilian-Indian Music."

The piece will have its Utah premiere Thursday with the Repertory Dance Theatre. In addition to this work, another moving Gotheiner work, "Lapse," and a technically dazzling number, Gideon Orbarzanek's "Cool White Fridge Knocked Over," will also be performed.

"I knew the work would be an assortment of duets," said Gotheiner, who has staged "Erosion," "Chairs" and "Lapse" for RDT in the past. "There is something that happens when two dancers dance together. There's an energy and simplicity that doesn't happen with a whole group of dancers dancing together."

The audience automatically sees a relationship when two people dance together, Gotheiner said. "That happens whether or not the choreographer intends it. And these six duets for this work are no exceptions. I like working with duets because there is more of a specific frame two people can do. It's more intimate. It's like listening to an etude rather than listening to a symphony."

Gotheiner originally choreographed "Duets" for his own company, Zvi Gotheiner & Dancers, in 1998. He had specific dancers in mind when he began. Throughout the years, the work has changed to fit the characteristics of new dancers. "When I recast a work, I'll have dancers who have danced it before set the work on a new company. That way I have a skeleton to work with. When I get into town, I begin working with the new dancers and add bits of flesh to the framework.

"The work is designed to highlight different textures of the music, but then I change bits to better fit the idiosyncracies of the individual dancers. So what you will see performed by RDT is not the same work that was performed in 1998."

RDT artistic director Linda C. Smith said she was taken by the fluidity of the movements when she first saw "Duets to Brazilian-Indian Music." "There is some very powerful imagery that came through even on a video," Smith said. "I asked him to come and stage it when he had the time. I just loved the fact that, to me, the duets suggested a different atmosphere.

"As with Zvi's other works, the dancing is not one-dimensional. The duets are layered with all kinds of complexities, whether they are playful, terse or romantic."

She added that she looks forward to seeing Zvi and Gideon's works presented in one night. "Zvi's works are always so flowing. There is a fluidity in his choreography. By contrast, Gideon's work is icy and jagged. I think the program will show different sides of RDT."

If you go …

What: The Repertory Dance Theatre

Where: Rose Wagner

Performing Arts Center, Black Box Theater,

138 W. 300 South

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.;

Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.

How much: $20

Phone: 355-2787 or


Web: www.arttix.org or www.rdtutah.org

Also: Poet Melissa Bond and photographer Suzanne Simpson will participate in a free pre-concert discussion at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Their works will be on display in the Rose Wagner lobby throughout the production's run.

E-MAIL: scott@desnews.com