Dedicated to expanding the accessibility and value of contemporary dance within everyday life, this innovating company shares their vision of dance with Korea and Mongolia.
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is Utah’s most established institution for contemporary dance. The company was founded in 1964 by Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe, who were both professors of dance at the University of Utah. Since its inception, Ririe-Woodbury has pursued a mission to make dance a part of everybody's lives—whether as creators, performers, educators, critics, or audience members. The company founders were active in the earliest dance programs of the National Endowment of the Arts, leading it to greater stature and recognition. Its education program, a national model still used in schools to date, grew from Ririe-Woodbury’s participation in two prestigious national initiatives: the Dance Touring Program and the Artists in the Schools Program. Currently the company has an education and an outreach director, whose jobs are singularly focused on creating dance opportunities for a wide audience, including toddlers, schoolchildren, adults, and nursing home residents. Ririe-Woodbury performs throughout the United States and worldwide—including past international tours in South Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the British Isles, and throughout Europe. Located in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, the company produces three unique productions annually, including new works created by its artistic director alongside new commissions from both emerging and established choreographers. Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is currently under the direction of Executive Director Jena Woodbury, Artistic Director Daniel Charon, and Education Director Ai Fujii Nelson.
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Artistic Director of Ririe-Woodbury since 2013, Daniel Charon has been active as a choreographer, teacher, and performer for over 25 years. While based in New York City, Charon maintained a project-based dance company, and danced with Doug Varone and Dancers and the Limón Dance Company. He performed with Doug Elkins and Friends, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Aquila Theater Company, among others. Charon earned a BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts and a MFA from California Institute of the Arts in Choreography and Integrated Media. As Ririe-Woodbury’s artistic director, Charon has created original works for the stage, designed video for his and other choreographers’ work, and created gallery installations. Charon‘s choreography has been produced at the 92nd Street Y, Harkness Dance Festival, and Jacob’s Pillow, among others. A nationally respected educator, Charon has taught at the Metropolitan Opera, Bates Dance Festival, Salt Dance Fest, and North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Comprehensive, and was an adjunct faculty member at Hunter College. He has staged works by José Limón, Jiří Kylián, and Doug Varone.
Photo: Star Mark by Joanna Kotze, Stuart Ruckman Photography