ST. GEORGE – Dance is about passion and heart; it combines elements of beauty, athleticism and storytelling. Dance is art in motion and the St. George Dance Company – a local professional dance company – is on a mission to bring dance to Southern Utah in ways both versatile and accessible.
Founded in 2008, the St. George Dance Company – a Utah nonprofit with a board of directors – began as a contemporary dance concert, a sort of showcase of choreographers and dancers in Southern Utah, Artistic Director Summer Belnap Robertson said.
“The concert was like an art gallery,” Robertson said. “There were pieces you liked and some you didn’t, it was a great artistic exchange.”
From the concert Robertson recognized that there was a core group of dancers and choreographers who wanted to do more, to have more classes and more performances, to have more opportunities to share the art of dance, she said.
The St. George Dance Company grew organically from that concert and has been growing ever since.
Robertson feels that the local response has been great, she said, and hopes to continue to present dance to the public in a way that helps them see how much beauty there is in the art form.
“I want the public to see that modern dance is not weird or scary, that there is beauty in it,” she said. “I want to educate and be an advocate for dance.”
Part of that advocacy includes creating a Southern Utah dance alliance, a goal for the company’s future, that would have the support of all the local studios, Robertson said.
Outside of Southern Utah, the company has opened for Salt Lake City based contemporary company, Ririe Woodbury, and they recently partnered with the Mojalet Dance Collective in San Diego, California giving intensive workshops and performing at the Vine Theater.
The 2013-14 season marked the first season of the company being able to pay its principal dancers, a trend that Robertson hopes to continue as the company moves forward.
“My hope for the company is to make it sustainable enough to provide a living for performing artists,”Robertson said, “because dance is not just a hobby, it is a profession.”
Robertson is originally from St. George but spent 10 years on the east coast studying and performing dance, primarily in New York City. She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in contemporary dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts and a Master’s in dance education from Columbia University.
Robertson returned to Southern Utah shortly after beginning her family and today, continues to share her passion for dance with the community and said that though running the company is hard – Robertson writes all the grants for the company in addition to director duties – it is something she feels strongly about.
“My heart is in it,” Robertson said.
On Thursday, the St. George Dance Company will hold open auditions at The Fix studio, 959 North 3050 East in Festival Plaza, for adult professional dancers ages 18 and up with ballet and modern dance experience.
The audition will be a modern dance class taught by company member Jennie Jones. Dancers do not need to bring a head-shot, bio or prepared solo and they can wear whatever they feel they move best in, Robertson said.
Though dancers should be technically trained, Robertson said she is especially looking for dancers who can be committed to the company’s class, rehearsal and performance schedule.
The audition, as well as all the classes – both ballet and modern dance classes are offered – are open to the public and are $5 per class or $100 for the full session.
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- When: Thurs. Aug. 28, 7:30-8:45 p.m.
- Where: The Fix Studio, 969 North 3050 East, Suite A4 in Festival Plaza near Costco and Freddy’s restaurant
- What: An open audition for professional dancers ages 18 and up with modern and ballet experience
- Cost: $5
- Additional information: The audition will be a modern dance class. No head-shot, bio or solo is necessary. The class is also open to the public
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