In September, Repertory Dance Theater put out a call for local choreographers. The company, celebrating its 51st season this year, received 21 entries of choreographers ranging in style and experience. The submissions were reviewed very closely by dancers and staff who evaluated them based on movement vocabulary and ideas, personal statement, video links, past experience, and how the work would fit with RDT's mission.
After close scrutiny, RDT announced the four choreographers who will compete at REGALIA on February 11, 2017 for a chance at an RDT commission in the 2017-2018 season. Three of the four choreographers are from the University of Utah’s School of Dance, Eric Handman, Nichele Van Portfleet, and Nick Blaylock.
Eric Handman is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah’s Department of Modern Dance. His choreography has been commissioned by various companies and dance departments across the U.S. He has taught, performed and shown his choreography throughout the United States as well as Costa Rica, England, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and Hungary. In 2014 he was a winner of two choreography competitions: the 2014 New Visions Choreography Competition for Idaho Dance Theater and the 2014 Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Competition for the Northwest Dance Project.
Nichele Van Portfleet worked as a dance-artist throughout the San Francisco Bay Area before relocating to attend the University of Utah's graduate program in Modern Dance this past Fall. Nichele received her B.A. in Theater Arts & Dance from Sonoma State University, from which her dance, Parched, traveled to Arizona for the American College Dance Festival West (2013), receiving the honor of Gala selection. Upon graduating she returned to SSU as a guest choreographer and Adjunct Professor of Dance, while dancing in San Francisco and working as a founding member of Hatch Devised Performance.
"It's exciting to have been asked to be a part of RDT's Regalia. I'm nervous but I am also very excited. I don't know if I'll ever have an opportunity like this again because it's so unique—A quick creation in just four hours, the audience free to come and go during the process, a potential special bonding experience with a group of dancers over such an unusual, focused experience. It also feels a bit like a coming out to my new Salt Lake community, and being up against choreographers whom I admire is also quite an honor. No pressure! I'm really looking forward to it."
- Nichele Van Portfleet
Photo Credit: HMPhoto
Nick Blaylock is a choreographer/dancer based in Salt Lake City, Utah and an MFA candidate in the Modern Dance Program in the University of Utah's School of Dance. Nick's creative work has been commissioned throughout the United States by studios, pre-professional companies, and universities. He received three consecutive choreographic awards from Southern Illinois University's Theater and Dance Department, and his work has been presented in three American College Dance Association Gala Concerts in two national regions.
The four choreographers will compete on February 11th and will have four hours to create a new work that will be shown that night. Each piece will be "voted" on by audience members using their wallets. The choreographer that raises the most money will be awarded the commission for the 2017-2018 season.
"RDT is eager to see what these gifted and 'daring' choreographers create at REGALIA. All four of them are extremely talented. The work of any one of them would be an asset to our 2017-2018 season," said Linda C. Smith, Executive/Artistic Director of RDT. "The choreography here in Utah is extraordinary and we're proud to hire local artists and excited to see which choreographer the audience chooses to receive a commission."
For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.rdtutah.org