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Weber State University Dance: Dancing in the Stream
In this brave new (and hopefully not permanent) performing arts world, many organizations are dipping their toes into the world of online presentation. Weber State University's Dance Department joins them with three live-streamed evenings representing both original student works and creations by the department's Moving Company outreach program.
Dancing in the Stream's student works offer a range of themes, from a solo based drawing on childhood memories, to a trio using unusual rolling objects to suggest cooperation despite separation. Moving Company's Sojourners, meanwhile, features six dancers—five current WSU dance students, and one guest graduate of the program—in a piece exploring the topic of sustainability. Company director Erik Stern says in a press release, ""Sustainability is a curious word. What is important to sustain? What types of sustainability catches people's attention, and why?" Sojourners (pictured), as part of its stage design, incorporates large wood-based sculptures by WSU emeritus visual arts professor Jim Jacobs, creating a uniquely fascinating visual environment for the choreography.
The Dance department has collaborated with WSU's communication department and in-house video production team for film production. In a cross-disciplinary approach, students studying television and digital media production will handle many of the filming aspects. Each evening will be a unique presentation, with the work of different students showcased each night. The program streams live to the public on Nov. 7, 14 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the virtual performances are free, available via weber.edu/artscalendar. Explore another new stream of artistic creation from the safety of home. (Scott Renshaw)
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SONDERimmersive: The Carousel
SONDERimmersive's take on interactive theater has been hard to replicate during the pandemic, but that hasn't stopped the creative team from trying. After their drive-in take on Romeo & Juliet produced in a parking garage, the company planned to The Carousel at the Dreamscapes gallery (110 S. Rio Grande St. in The Gateway) back in July. Ultimately, that production was re-scheduled to take place at the same location Nov 9-24. Tickets are $25-$35 per person in time slots from 5:35 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. on select nights, available at sonderimmersive.com.
According to SONDERimmersive's artistic director Graham Brown, the show was inspired in part by the 10 rooms in the Dreamscapes space, which gave rise to a story idea involving 10 characters with highly symbolic names like The Dragon, The Jester and Your Mother. Audience members—no more than four in a group, socially distanced from performers—accompany one of the characters on a room-by-room tour of the gallery; initial plans to have more crossover and interaction between the groups were changed to allow for a safer, sequential journey. Audience members also become part of the story, including wearing special masks and costuming elements.
The shifting nature of the pandemic has required productions to adapt on the fly to allow for the safest experience. "I think there's a potential [for artists] feeling like, 'I give up ... I'm just going to go get a normal job, Brown says. "But it's like weeds busting through cracks in pavement, living at all costs. Keeping that in mind is what helps me go, 'This is important.'" (Scott Renshaw)
- Ballet West
Ballet West: Nine Sinatra Songs
Like most local arts organizations, Ballet West has spent most of 2020 figuring out how to engage with its audience in alternative, mostly online ways—and has done so with great success, including a collaboration with Utah Symphony and a "virtual library" of snippets from recorded performances. Now, the company returns live and in-person to the Capitol Theatre stage (50 W. 200 South)—in a performer-safe way, with close physical partnering only involving household couples—with a diverse program running the gamut from new works to Ol' Blue Eyes.
On the premiere side, choreographer Jennifer Archibald—an Ailey School graduate, familiar to Ballet West audiences from her work Myoho as part of the 2018 Choreographic Festival—presents Tides, which combines classical ballet with modern dance and hip hop for a dynamic, athletic experience. Ballet West resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte also offers a world premiere in Faraway Close, which comments directly on our current world circumstances in a way characteristic of Fonte's emotional storytelling approach to choreography. Finally, the evening concludes with Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs, a glamorous presentation of ballroom dance styles like tango, swing and cha-cha-cha, set to the inimitable crooning of Frank Sinatra tunes like "Strangers in the Night," "Somethin' Stupid," "That's Life" and "My Way."
Performances run Nov. 6-14, with tickets beginning at $26. Capitol Theatre capacity is limited to 20 percent of total seats, allowing for plenty of distance between masked audience parties, so ticket availability is limited. Visit balletwest.org or call 801-869-6900 for ticket purchases or for information about COVID safety protocols. (SR)
Real Housewives of Salt Lake Citydrive-in premiere
To the rest of the country, Salt Lake City doesn't necessarily leap out as a location associated with the kind of wealth, glamour and luxury showcased in Bravo's long-running Real Housewives franchise. But according so Sheonna Mix, Vice President for Current Production at Bravo, that counterintuitive quality is part of what made it an appealing choice. "When it comes to choosing a new Housewives series, we don't necessarily go to a city searching for a cast," Mix says. "Sometimes a cast comes to you. We just went, 'Oh my gosh, these are Housewives. In Salt Lake City! How intriguing is that?"
That's how locals Lisa Barlow, Mary Cosby, Heather Gay, Meredith Marks, Whitney Rose and Jen Shah became the focus of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, offering the kind of chemistry that the series looks for when considering what will appeal to audiences. "The goal," Mix says, "is to have the identifiable characteristics of any friend group: the one that always puts her foot in her mouth, maybe the person who's more compassionate, or one who has a quick temper. We want people who represent what other people have in their lives. You also want some big personalities, so you are intrigued to watch them."
Leading up to the show's TV premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 11, Bravo is presenting a drive-in event at Vivint SmartHome Arena (301 W. South Temple) on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available for $1 per car at rhoslc.eventbrite.com, and include Housewives trivia, complimentary snacks and more special extras. (SR)