Home Written work Ririe-Woodbury’s new dance production asks audiences to think about ‘who you are as a person’

Ririe-Woodbury’s new dance production asks audiences to think about ‘who you are as a person’


Identity is the common thread of three works to be performed in the production “Fill in the Blank”.

(Stuart Ruckman | Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co.) Fausto Rivera, left, and Nicholas Jurica dance to choreographer Andrea Miller’s “I Can See Myself in Your Pupil.”

If there is a guiding line among the works of “Fill in the Blank”, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s new program, it is “individual identity, and discovering who you are as a person and how you exist in this world”. said Daniel Charon, the company’s artistic director.

The show — which runs Thursday through Sunday at the Regent Street Black Box, adjacent to Salt Lake City’s Eccles Theater — consists of three works: “Coincidences, When We Meet Up,” a new work by choreographer Jo Blake; “I Can See Myself in Your Pupil,” an older work by Andrea Miller; and “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner” by Stefanie Batten Bland.

Charon describes Blake’s new job as “really about finding acceptance for who you are.”

Blake, who uses the pronouns he/they, said: “My job lately has been to connect two social issues: one being a marginalized man of color, a gay man, an individual who has somehow overcome obstacles not only within social communities, but also within the dance world, and I was really interested in creating work that was genderless.

It’s not a traditional dance, in the sense that only the men lift and the women dance – and the dancers have more influence on the very structure of the piece.

Trevor Price – a Salt Lake City composer, producer and engineer with whom Blake previously worked – scored the work, which includes lyrics written by the dancers. “They will have a voice not just on stage, but in the score,” Blake said.

The dancers also have their say in the choreography. “Inside there is no timing, so they can play with their own maneuvers in and out of these relationships they have created with each other. Sometimes they will whisper and share the with each other.

Blake said they were trying to explore the influence of movement on a relationship. “Dance movement has always existed and been a way to communicate, and so I’ve always found that when I perform and share choreography, that’s that point of connection.”

Bland’s play, “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner”, is inspired by the 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”, in which a liberal couple – played by Katharine Hepburn and, in her last role, Spencer Tracy – discover their adult daughter (Katherine Houghton) is engaged to a black doctor (played by Sidney Poitier).

Bland’s work, Charon said, “really has to do [with] having a seat at the table, having a voice, being able to speak up, believing in what you say, and making people hear that and listen.

Miller, who choreographed “I Can See Myself in Your Pupil,” is from Salt Lake City and has her own dance company in Brooklyn called Gallim. Charon said the work is “more about people trying to figure out their own way of communicating and their own vocabulary.”

Charon acknowledged that dance is sometimes the hardest medium to use to communicate because it’s not as visually direct as music, film, or writing.

“One of the big challenges for people when they see dance is… [it] doesn’t have a definable narrative,” Charon said. “They come and they want to try to understand. And when they can’t understand, they get frustrated and they’re like, “I don’t understand. …what dance does well [is] he expresses[es] really hard things to put into words.


‘Filling the Void’ in Regent Street

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company production, “Fill in the Blank”.

Or • Regent Street Black Box, 131 Main Street, Salt Lake City.

Schedule • Thursday to Saturday, January 27 to 29, 7:30 p.m.; a family and sensory screening of Pieces in motion will take place on Saturday, January 29 from 1 p.m.

Tickets • Available online at arttix.org. Both live and on-demand streaming options are available.