The Arts and U

By Molly Powers, marketing and communications specialist, College of Fine Arts

The University of Utah School of Dance is opening its 2017-18 season with the Performing Dance Company. Performing Dance Company offers its audience a professional-level performance by students in the modern dance program. The concert opens Oct. 5 and will showcase choreography from faculty and guest artists, focusing on the creation of new works. This year, PDC will feature original choreography of faculty members Steve Koester, Satu Hummasti and Pamela Geber Handman, along with a piece by esteemed guest choreographer Anna Azrieli.

In his new work titled, “A Tear in the Patterned Wallpaper,” Steve Koester thinks of the stage as a landscape where an evolving series of events and spatial formations coalesce only to erode away like sandcastles at the water’s edge. Within the dance, Koester contrasts simple with the complex, stillness with action, isolation with connection, and unison movement with individualism. Much like a forest, it is the space between the trees that may be more alive and interesting than the trees themselves. Set to music by Stars of the Lid – The Ballasted Orchestra, the dance has a pervading aura about it of serene, meditative emptiness.

“Market,” created by Satu Hummasti and the performers, explores one day at the central market in Turku, Finland, through movement, performance, improvisation and text. Performers weave together stories from multiple perspectives to look at how one decision on one ordinary day creates extraordinary, horrific and heroic circumstances. 

Inspired by solitary spaces and lingering on desolate roads, “Before She Sleeps in the Sand,” will also premiere at the Performing Dance Company concert. Directed by Pamela Geber Handman, this new quartet collaboration contains projections and music by Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, Joep Beving, Pan American and Marsen Jules. 

Finally, the program will feature an original work by guest artist Azrieli, who is visiting the School of Dance for an exciting residency with dancers from the modern dance program. Azrieli uses repetition, rhythmic vocalization and self-slapping movement/sound actions in her work “The Feminist Quiver has Legs of Quaking Clouds.” She invokes a world where the individual and group blend, then mutate into a new configuration. Azrieli is a choreographer and performer whose work is based on her body’s intuitive impulses and their interplay with her history in a variety of dance and movement forms. Her dances have been presented by Gibney Dance, Danspace Project, Roulette, The Kitchen and Movement Research at the Judson Church. She is also a recipient of the Movement Research AIR grant. She has performed with Miguel Gutierrez, Heather Kravas, robbinschilds, Sam Kim, Luciana Achugar and Wendy Perron, to name a few.

The concert runs Oct. 5-21 at the Marriott Center for Dance. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 801-581-7100 or at the door 30 minutes prior to curtain. For more information please visit