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Salt Lake, UT: Wasatach Community Gardeners Dance

  • Subject: [cg] Salt Lake, UT: Wasatach Community Gardeners Dance
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2005 21:28:24 EST

The dance of everyday life 
From firefighters to infants, RDT's 'Gathering Place' is built around amateur 
By Brandon Griggs 
The Salt Lake Tribune 

Salt Lake Tribune  
Ever pass a few idle moments watching someone sweep a sidewalk, hammer a nail 
or navigate a baby stroller through a crowded store? These actions may be 
routine, but they can possess rhythm and grace.
   That's the idea behind "Gathering Place," Repertory Dance Theatre's latest 
concert, which brings together gardeners, birdwatchers, stay-at-home moms and 
other nondancers for a lighthearted evening of brief pieces that find beauty 
in mundane movements.
   "We are surrounded by movement, dance and choreography every day," 
explains RDT artistic director Linda C. Smith. "The way we move communicates to the 
people around us, whether we are walking down the hall of our office carrying a 
briefcase, executing drills as a firefighter or constructing a new home. In 
that sense, we are all dancers, with or without professional training."
   The one-night-only performance of "Gathering Place" will be Saturday at 
the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in downtown Salt Lake City. It will be 
followed by RDT's annual fund-raising party, featuring food, dancing and 
karaoke. A ticket for both events is $35.
   Smith calls the concert a "potluck"-type evening because of its eclectic 
program and spirit of community togetherness. By bringing more than 120 people 
together onstage, Smith hopes to showcase Utah's diversity through dance while 
giving everyone involved "a new vocabulary to strengthen our connections to 
each other."
   To reinforce this theme, the show also incorporates film clips featuring a 
handful of community leaders: Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Utah 
Shakespearean Festival founder Fred Adams, the Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish and 
others. Some of them may even dance on camera, although Smith's not telling.
   RDT has staged pieces with nondancers before, but this marks the first 
time the company has built an entire evening around amateur performers. Smith 
invited community groups to participate and also recruited two dozen volunteers - 
the less prior dance experience, the better - through an ad in the newspaper.
   The "dancers" onstage will include desk jockeys and blue-collar laborers 
and will range in age from 70 to just 15 months.
   "You won't find a more diverse cast," Smith vows. "We wanted to assemble a 
group of people who wouldn't dream of performing, especially dance, onstage 
before a live audience."
   Such folks include a group from Wasatch Community Gardens, who will 
perform a short dance with hoes, rakes, wheelbarrows and watering cans. Dancing and 
gardening may seem like strange bedfellows, but through rehearsals under 
Smith, the group has grown to appreciate the choreography involved in both purs
   "Everybody in the beginning was very nervous and hesitant," says gardener 
Celia Bell. "But Linda's made us all feel comfortable and confident. We're 
really getting into it."
   One of the evening's highlights promises to be a 4-minute piece by seven 
members of the South Davis Metro Fire Agency. The firefighters will don boots, 
coats and helmets, lean a ladder against a wall and race up it with a fire 
   "You could call it dancing. My firefighters would prefer a more 
testosterone-laden word," says South Davis fire chief George Sumner, who initially had 
to coax his men to participate. "Let's just say I had to take a ration of 
kidding about this whole thing."
   Like the gardeners, the once-reluctant firefighters have warmed to the 
concept. Like dance, fighting a fire is a choreographed, physically demanding 
activity that requires repeated drills - rehearsals, if you will - to refine the 
movements involved.
   The curtain won't rise on "Gathering Place" for six days, but Sumner and 
his men are ready.
   "I think it'll be a fun evening," he says. "I've got a bunch of 
enthusiastic firefighters who are proud of their abilities and eager to show them off."
   Doing the watering cancan
   l Repertory Dance Theatre will present "Gathering Place" Saturday at 8 
p.m. at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway (300 South) in 
Salt Lake City. The performance will be followed by RDT's annual karaoke dance 
party, beginning approximately 9:30 p.m.
   l Tickets for both the one-night-only performance ($25) and the party 
($35) are available through ArtTix, 801-355-ARTS or http://www.ArtTix.org.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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