This week, Repertory Dance Company will feature their annual fundraising show, Charette, with the most unique and unexpected hosts in town. --- The yearly production features performances are created like a lottery, where the choreographers have no idea who they'll be working with or what their theme is until 24 hours before it hits the big stage of The Rose Wagner. This year's activities comes with the added bonus of being hosted by Sister Dottie S. Dixon, who more than likely will have a few extra tricks up her sleeve for the evening.
Today we chat with Charles Lynn Frost as well as one of the participating choreographers, Nathan Shaw, about this year's event and their plans headed in, all of which you can see this Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. Grab your tickets while you can to support one of our local dance companies. (All pictures courtesy of RDT.)
Nathan Shaw & Charles Lynn Frost (as Sister Dottie)
Gavin: Hello to both of you, first thing, how have you both been since we last talked?
Charles: I’ve been tremendous Gavin, thank you for asking. Life is rich, real, and very full. I hope it’s something I am attracting and allowing. Life keeps me surprised—who can ask for more than that? Busy being an actor, activist, leader, voice for change, good, and transformation. Like Stephen Sondheim says in Into The Woods, “NICE is different than GOOD.” I keep realizing that over and over as I age. I hope you are doing well too—friend Gavin.
Nathan: Great. It has been quite a long time since we talked! Staying busy.
Gavin: What have you both recently been up to over the past few months prior to Charette?
Nathan: Teaching dance full time at Judge. Dancing with SB. The usual.
Gavin: Getting right to it, what was it about Charette that made each of you want to participate this year?
Charles: RDT. Their excellence and mission. The fact that I was a judge of Charette last year, and felt like Sister Dottie was and excellent FIT with the company. They are very passionate, their leadership, staff, talent, etc. Every time I attend and RDT concert I am impressed with their innovation, creativity, and drive, all of which attracts me to them. Thus the partnership this year.
Nathan: I was told that I have to defend my title. And that is exactly what I plan on doing!
Gavin: Nathan, what's your experience been like in previous Charette performances?
Nathan: I have been part of every single Charette. First as a performer and then last year was my first time as a choreographer. I have always loved doing this show. I think artists today take too much time to create. Its great to see what you can accomplish in one hour. Sometimes it can be crap but that goes the same if you took three months to make it!
Gavin: What made you jump on board as a choreographer this year?
Nathan: I was forced... but in good spirit.
Gavin: Considering you won't know who your working with or what the “ingredients” will be, how do you best prepare yourself for what's to come?
Nathan: Flirting with the judges, lots of protein, cardio, oh and sleeping with the artistic director. (Linda is a minx.)
Gavin: A twist that was added last year is that you'll be working with a live musician. How does that change the dynamic for you rather than playing to a recorded clip?
Nathan: It was nice because I didn't have to spend time making a choice. The musician came and whatever he played we danced to it. In the past the choreographers have been handed CDs with a bunch of tracks. This felt like an added stress when creating. I was lucky last year because my musician happened to be the accompanist of my class that I teach at CDT so I was very familiar with him.
Gavin: Charles, you'll be hosting this year as Sister Dottie, who we haven't seen much of since her last play. What made you decide to bring her back for Charette?
Charles: Sister Dottie went on a hiatus after a successful and extended run of Dottie: The Sister Lives On, at Salt Lake Acting Company. I felt strongly that I needed a rest from Sister, and Sister’s friends and fans needed a rest from her. As you Sister appears 2-3 times a month on Radio From Hell, but other than that—she’s been on an extended break, a mission as it were. I made a promise to my husband Doug after the last play ended that she would take a vacation, and kept it for 1 1/2 years. She has appeared for certain fundraisers, ITA’s The Pupcracker, and now this amazing RDT opportunity. She will also be ramping up a bit in 2014, since there will be a 3rd new play coming out during the holiday season of 2014. I brought her to Charette because I think it is a good fundraising fit. The fit has to be there first—Sister and the organization she is raising funds for must be a good match! The match is the most important thing, and the RDT organization is just that—a perfect fit.
Gavin: What will you be doing throughout the evening as the host?
Charles: Sister Dottie S. Dixon will pretty much be “all up in it” when it come to Charette 2014! She is hosting the VIP pre-reception, performing with the RDT dancers in a wonderful new opening number, which she is very excited and a bit nervous about by the way. She will be the emcee for the entire evening, taking care of introductions, having tremendous interactive fun with the judges, audience, dancers, choreographers, and anyone who happens to get in her way. Sister will be leading a guided eating and drinking tour to all the creative studios where the dancers and their choreographer, musician(s), and secret ingredient will all be creating masterpieces. She will then orchestrate the performances, the judges decisions, and of course a few other fun secrets that we won’t share at this time, so as not to give EVERYTHING away. A true lady—never reveals it ALL!
Gavin: What do you hope to add to the evening that previous Charette events haven't had in the past?
Charles: Sister will add the FUN back into Fundraiser! In huge amounts. She will also add spontaneity, improvisation, and unexpected moments! That’s SISTER! Isn’t it? You know her very well Gavin, I hope to see your wonderful and relevant face in the audience that night. Be incognito, because if Sister spots you, YOU ARE ON PAL!
Nathan: Costumes. I am hoping to plan out a costume change for every time the audience sees me. Maybe a costume malfunction. A nip slip if you get my drift...
Gavin: As always this is a fundraising event. What will the funds be going to, and for those who can't attend, how can they help out?
Nathan: Funds from this will go towards supporting RDT, including their arts in education work in Utah’s schools. I am not sure where the funds will go specifically. I think this show is not just about the funds though. This is one of the most fun nights in the Utah Dance scene. It will build new audience members and excitement for the work RDT is presenting. If people can’t make it and still want to support RDT, they can donate on the website.
Gavin: What are both your thoughts headed into this Saturday's show?
Nathan: I hope I know enough wealthy people to buy me the title...
Gavin: What can we expect from both of you over the rest of the year?
Nathan: SB Dance performances. A lot of teaching. And a new twist... I am going back to school to get my teaching license!
Gavin: Aside from the obvious, is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Nathan: South Valley Creative Dance. Nick Cendese who is also the assistant artistic director for RDT owns his own studio out in Sandy. Everyone should be sending their child there for dance. No phony ponies and bare midriffs. Just dance.
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