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The Arts and U

School of Dance pushes boundaries with fall performance, "Power Couples" symposium at UMFA, and "Cagney," the highly-anticipated musical, runs through Oct. 5 at Pioneer Theatre Company.

School of Dance pushes boundaries with fall performance

The School of Dance will present the work of four internationally acclaimed choreographers Oct. 3-5 and 17-19 as the Performing Dance Company takes to the stage in the Marriott Center for Dance. Through these works the choreographers illuminate not only the richness of the creative process, but also comment on the world in which we live and the fragility of life itself. The evening is visually powerful, emotionally engaging and encourages the audience to reexamine the world around us.

Omar Carrum hails from Mexico City, while his performance, teaching and choreography projects take him around the world, including four months a year teaching in Prague. He has created, with the dancers in his cast, a visually engaging work that draws from the dancers’ individual stories to create a contemplative world before our very eyes. "Alchemy of the 7 Elements" presents an elegant journey through these dancers’ memories and beliefs that invites the audience to follow along and simultaneously forge their own path. The choreographer and performers invite us to contemplate “how do we understand this life and what may come after it?”

"(Re)current Unrest: We Are The People" is an excerpt of Charles O. Anderson/dance theatre X's latest touring work "(Re)current Unrest." Professor Anderson is currently the Director of Dance at University of Texas at Austin, where he also serves as Associate Professor of African Diaspora Dance. He is also the Artistic Director of his own company "dance theatre x." For the reconstruction of this excerpt, Mr. Anderson selected a cast of 15 performers, which includes students majoring in both ballet and modern dance. "(Re)current Unrest" is an evening length immersive performance ‘ritual’ built upon the sonic foundation of Steve Reich’s three earliest works: The larger project began as an investigation of legacy, authorship and citizenship and protest through the lens of the erasure of the Africanist presence inside of Reich’s compositions. This excerpted version is a meditation on the increase in racially motivated violence and what it means to be an American.

"CLEANSLATE," from choreographer and faculty member Satu Hummasti, imagines a Utopia, but does not aim to represent one. Björk, the Icelandic Goddess who sings for this piece, imagines a utopia led by women and children and plants and animals who practice kindness, unthought of worlds of creativity, “radical softness,” love and generosity. This utopian world was the inspiration for what we were thinking about when we worked, when we created and when we dance.

Choreographer and faculty member Daniel Clifton bring us "Art and rat use the same letters", a playful exploration of the creative process. Clifton states, “Sometimes we exist in life structures that can feel like they repeat and repeat and repeat until they don’t.” His cast of five dancers bring this concept to reality before our eyes as they create, repeat and then create some more—including the score for the dance itself.

The concert also features the creative work of Lighting Designer, Cole Adams; Costume Designer, Christopher Larson; and additional props from Technical Director, Isaac Taylor. Benjamin Sandberg further enhances the evening through his craft as audio engineer. These amazing technical “wizards" help immerse the audience in a provocative world of visual and auditory invention and discovery.

'Power Couples' symposium

This Friday a dozen scholars from around the world gather at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) to share new research on a familiar but under-examined format in visual art—pendants, works of art conceived as pairs. From a leading expert to a U musicologist and graduate student, these presenters bring critical conversation to the Museum where "Power Couples: The Pendant Format in Art" is now on view. "Power Couples" is the first exhibition of its kind devoted to a comprehensive look at pendants and the artistic strategies at play in such works.

The symposium will be held 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, in the UMFA’s Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium. Visitors are welcome to drop in as their schedules allow. Admission is free, and advance registration is not required.

Although pendants have been popular for centuries, they’ve received little close scholarly attention until lately. Wendy Ikemoto, associate curator of American art at the New-York Historical Society, authored the first comprehensive study of these works in 2017, "Antebellum American Pendant Paintings: New Ways of Looking" (Routledge). Ikemoto will give the keynote address at 10 a.m.

Read the full story here.


"Cagney," the pre-Broadway premiere! The musical about Hollywood’s tough guy in tap shoes.

Fred Astaire Award-winner Robert Creighton reprises title role for this love song to the Golden Age of American Cinematic History. The highly-anticipated musical runs through Oct. 5, 2019, at Pioneer Theatre Company.

The newly-expanded production of "Cagney," based on the life of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" star Academy Award-winner James Cagney, returns to the stage, opened at Pioneer Theatre Company's (PTC) Sept. 20, 2019 and runs through Oct. 5, 2019. Tickets for this pre-Broadway production can now be purchased by calling 801-581-6961 or visiting

"Utah is in for something special." said PTC Artistic Director Karen Azenberg. "PTC is already known for bringing the best of Broadway to Salt Lake City (including Steve Martin’s 'Bright Star' and Sting’s 'The Last Ship'). Now, with 'Cagney,' we're aiming to bring the best work coming out of Salt Lake to Broadway. We knew the balance of story and spectacle of 'Cagney' would be a terrific choice for a first pre-Broadway venture. At PTC, we're continuing the legacy of the regional theatre; we are developing new work, engaging with the community to widen economic growth and debuting state, national and world premieres.”

"We set the bar for performance. Most of shows you see at PTC are titles you can't see anywhere else," added PTC Managing Director Christopher Massimine. “Salt Lake City is a thriving community. Its growth leads the U.S. and the demographics for patrons of the arts closely mirror New York’s. We have sophisticated audiences who are also cultural enthusiasts and enjoy an economy where a Broadway-ready show can be built, produced, and refined in our full-service shop-to-show facilities, at a substantially lower cost (or, at a fraction of the cost) than anywhere else in the country."

"Cagney," a biographical musical based on "Hollywood's tough guy in tap shoes," played an award-winning Off Broadway run, presented first at the York Theatre, followed by a successful transfer to the Westside Theatre and a limited engagement in Los Angeles. The Broadway production of "Cagney" will be produced by Riki Kane Larimer ("Enter Laughing," "Smokey Joe’s Café," "Gigi," "On the Town") and Kate Edelman Johnson ("Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone").