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U's modern dance concert to showcase Katie Scherman’s world premiere of “Ma femme.”

By Tyler Kunz, marketing/communications coordinator, College of Fine Arts

The University of Utah Department of Modern Dance’s Performing Dance Company Spring 2016 concert will unveil works by some of the hottest names in contemporary dance. The lineup includes work from department’s faculty members Molly Heller, Daniel Clifton, Satu Hummasti and Stephen Koester. The show will feature a world premiere by work by guest choreographer Katie Scherman.

“The repertory in this season’s performance features five unique premieres, which represent many perspectives and spans a variety of investigations,” said Sharee Lane, associate professor and director of the production. “It also showcases a variety of the department’s talented students, representing freshmen all the way up to graduate students. “

In his new work for nine dancers, department chair Koester investigates a variety of interactions between the dancers.f7a0a54c92471ac4480e727e4ccf93df_M

“While within community we can also be alone. Together, we physically interact differently in public than in private,” said Koester.

Set to the music of the Balanescu Quartet and Broken Social Scene, Koester attempts to paint a stage landscape with evolving dancer interaction. “Hanging over the dance is a prevailing mood of nostalgia, sparseness and isolation,” he said.

Visiting assistant professor Clifton’s work will present a community of dancers who are also musicians. They will use their bodies, voices and instruments to shape the physical space and sculpt the sound space.

Visiting assistant professor Heller’s quintet titled “The Most Delicate Timekeepers is, as she said, “scenically inspired by textural formalism and is driven by an emotionally rich soundscape. The complex relationships inside the piece unfold through seemingly spontaneous happenings with an awareness of the space itself that is both real and imagined.”

In “Hey, Suzanne, Hey, Coral, and Hey, Penelope,” Hummasti and her dancers create a series of duets distilled into tiny four-minute dances. Different dances may be performed on different nights of the run or in different parts of the concert, but all coincide and reflect on each other and on her two dancers’ lived experiences.

Seattle-based guest artist Scherman, who has been nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award and was honored with a Princess Grace Award in Dance, created a premiere work on students in the Department of Modern Dance titled, “Ma femme.” “The work explores the collective experience of being a woman; in wonder, depth and complexity,” said Scherman.

“Together, the choreographers and dancers have teamed up to generate work that celebrates creativity, physicality, humanity and the insatiable quest to discover more about ourselves, each other and the world around us,” said Lane.


The Performing Dance Company  takes the stage Feb. 19 and 20, and 25-27 at the Univeristy of Utah Marriott Center for Dance. Tickets can be purchased at, 801-581-7100 or at the door. This is an Arts Pass event, so U students receive free entry with UCard.


The Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah has a long, distinguished history of excellence that unites the world of academia with the world of professional dance.  NASD accredited and ranked as one of the top programs in the country, department alumni have gone on to work internationally and nationally as dancers, choreographers, artistic directors, teachers, videographers and administrators.