Joan Woodbury – Keynote Presenter
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company
Joan Woodbury is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and studied as the first Fulbright Scholar in dance with Mary Wigman in Berlin. She was a professor of modern dance at the University of Utah where she taught for 47 years. When Joan was 21, she met Alwin Nikolais who had a profound influence on her philosophy and aesthetics for the rest of her career. She was privileged to teach with, as well as for him in New York, Florida, and Minnesota— and abroad in Avignon, Angers and Paris, France as well as in Sussex, England. Joan has choreographed over 100 works in her career and has danced and/or taught workshops and master classes throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Portugal, South Africa, Slovenia, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, France, England, Ireland, and Italy.
In addition to many choreographic grants, her awards include a Chimera Award from the Nikolais Dance Theatre, a Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce Honors in the Arts Award, Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University of Wisconsin and Southern Utah University and an Honorary Alumni Award from the University of Utah. She has also received the Utah Governor’s Award in the Arts, the Heritage Award from the National Dance Association, and the Cathedral of the Madeleine Award. Joan has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Southern Utah University and an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Utah. At present Joan’s great passion is in assisting and supporting the company as it continues into the future.
Shirley Ririe – Keynote Presenter
Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company
Shirley Ririe is a national leader in the field of dance for children. She was appointed to the committee which developed National Standards for Arts Education K-12 in 1994. She has served as the United States delegate to Dance and the Child International and as a consultant for the Association of Instructional Television producing two programs for PBS. She has served on the National Advisory Committee for Young Audiences since 1974.
During her 35 year performing career she performed leading roles in choreography by Jose Limon, Helen Tamiris, Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Merce Cunningham and studied with them as well as Anna Halprin, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Louis Horst. As guest teacher and performer she has traveled the World and most of the States in the U.S. Her favorites being: South Africa, the Edinburgh Festival, China and Paris. She has choreographed over 100 works for Ririe-Woodbury and other companies, and choreographed musicals at Pioneer Memorial Theatre on the University of Utah for 10 years.
Shirley has received the Honorary Doctorate, Merit of Honor, and Distinguished Woman of the Year from the University of Utah. The Governor’s Award and Honors in the Arts from S.L. Chamber of Commerce; Plaudit from the National Dance Association; Pioneers of Progress for Days of ’47; and Lifetime Achievement from the Utah Dance Education Association. She was a Fulbright professor in Hong Kong and New Zealand.
Married to O. Rhees Ririe, she is the mother of four daughters and 15 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. This, she feels, is the major accomplishment of her life.
Linda C. Smith – Keynote Presenter
Executive/Artistic Director, Repertory Dance Theatre
Executive/Artistic Director of Repertory Dance Theatre, Linda has been a performer, teacher, choreographer, writer, producer for RDT since 1966. Her pursuits have led to the development of the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and the RDT Community School, to providing over 400 commissions for established and emerging choreographers, and to the creation of multi-disciplinary activities that focus on the dance history, the environment, social issues, multi-ethnic history, and sustainability. She has taught in over 1500 schools bringing the magic of dance to students and teachers with her unique demonstrations, lectures, classes and professional development workshops. As a performer, teacher, director and administrator, Linda has dedicated her life to finding ways to make the arts relevant and to communicating the value of dance in the life of a community.
Linda received her BFA in dance in 1964 from the University of Utah. She has received numerous honors including “Honors in the Arts” awards from the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, the “Outstanding Achievement Award in Art” from the YWCA, “Community Builders” Award from Utah Women’s Alliance for Building Community, recognition by Utah Business Magazine as one of 30 Utah Visionaries,” and The College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award from the U of U. 15 Bytes Selected Linda as One of Utah’s 15 for 2018: The State’s Most Influential Artists Award (2019). 2019 Utah Business Women of the Year; UNA’s 2019 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader of the year.
She is most at home encouraging audiences of all ages to imagine, create and communicate with the language of movement.
Kathie Debenham, CLMA
Utah Valley University
Kathie is receiving the UDEO Lifetime Achievement Award as well as presenting. See her bio by clicking here.
Pat Debenham, CLMA
Brigham Young University Professor Emeritus
Pat Debenham is an Artist/Educator. He retired from BYU in 2013 where he taught Contemporary Dance and Music Theatre for 37 years. He currently is adjunct faculty at Utah Valley University. Pat is a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. Dance as a process of personal and cultural discovery and the meaningful embodiment are themes of his scholarship and creative life. He has performed, presented and published regionally, nationally and internationally. Present passions are his three lively daughters, three son-in-laws, 13 grandchildren, his multi-faceted wife, and a desire for good food, thoughtful reading and engaging conversation.
Breakout Session: Virginia Tanner’s Woman, The Pioneer
Pam Musil, MA
Brigham Young University
Pam Musil, MA, is a professor of dance in the Department of Dance at Brigham Young University where she has taught for the past 26+ years. During her tenure at BYU she has taught a number of dance courses including contemporary technique, improvisation, Somatics and Conditioning for Dancers, Dance and Identity, dance education and methodology, and dance graduate courses. Currently she teaches Dance Teaching Practicum and Classroom Management, and Kinesiology for Dancers, where she utilizes her skills as a certified Level 2 Franklin Method Educator. Pam has served as the department graduate coordinator, directed the Dance Education program, and served as administrator over the contemporary area. She currently serves as an Associate Chair in the department. Pam’s scholarship includes a number of choreographies and select publications, with topics of interest that span grades 7-12, post-secondary dance education and beyond, exploring issues related to dance literacy, dance education, dance and gender, and age-specific issues related to dance. Her work is found in the Journal of Dance Education, Research in Dance Education, Arts Education Policy Review, Arts Education and Literacies (2015), Dance and Gender (2017), and Case Studies in Dance Education: Ethical Dimensions of Humanizing Dance Pedagogy (Schupp & Risner forthcoming 2019). She serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Dance Education and is a former UDEO President. Prior to her employment at BYU, Pam taught dance in the public schools for 11 years, during which time she was recognized by the National Dance Association as the National Dance Educator of the Year. She and her husband David have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grand child.
Breakout Session: Sally Fitt & Kinesiology
Break out Session 3: Functional anatomy’s place within the dance classroom: Sally Fitt’s influence and legacyDescription:
This session will offer a brief history of kinesiology curricula in Utah, with special emphasis on Sally Fitt’s seminal influence within the Utah dance community and beyond. Participants will experience anatomical/functional movement practices that can be applied directly within their own dance classrooms to instantly improve students’ body awareness and function.
Marilyn Berrett, MA
Brigham Young University Emeritus Professor
Brigham Young University Emeritus Professor Marilyn Berrett (MA-BYU, BFA-U of U) developed her lifelong passion for teaching creative dance as a child and young adult, dancing with Virginia Tanner and performing with the University of Utah Children’s Dance Theatre. Her relationship with sister and mentor Pearl Wagstaff-Garff was also instrumental in the lifelong pursuit and belief in artistic dance for children. During her 38-year career at BYU, she artistically directed dance companies, choreographed contemporary/modern dance works, musical theatre and film. In 2002 she founded and directed BYU Kinnect, an outreach company that presents educational dance performances and workshops to over 16,000 public school students annually as well as present at daCi conferences nationally and internationally. Berrett served as Chair of the Department of Dance at BYU from 2010 – 2017 and retired in 2018.
Marilyn now enjoys her roles as independent dance artist, elementary dance artist educator, and modern/contemporary dance master teacher endorsed in Martha Graham Technique. She is currently teaching Graham technique to Repertory Dance Theatre and choreographing for their upcoming “Sounds Familiar” Concert. Marilyn has been privileged to present professional development workshops throughout the world since 1978 and is currently focusing on annual workshops in creative dance for children and youth educators in Shanghai, China where she and colleague Jiamin Huang have assisted in developing the first-ever China Chapter of dance and the Child international.
Berrett is as passionate as ever about guiding students of all ages to discover, explore, create, and express their unique ideas through dance. Whether teaching creative or cultural dance, integrating dance with other curricula such as art, science, history, or math, or collaborating with others to create original dance projects, Berrett seeks to meet the needs of learners and help them trust in the creative process.
Marilyn is particularly grateful for her friends in UDEO/NDEO, BYU ARTS Partnership, and daCi, (‘Utah’, ‘USA’, and ‘International’) as well as all those collaborating with her in dance and humanitarian service projects. She loves her role as grandma to her eleven creative and joyous grandchildren, and wife to her husband of 43 years as they serve their family and travel the world together.
Breakout Session: Virginia Tanner Lessons & Classroom Management
Jeanette Geslison, MA, MFA
Brigham Young University
Jeanette is Assistant Professor of Dance at Brigham Young University and serves as Artistic Director of the International Folk Dance Ensemble.
Jeanette is a native of Odense, Denmark where she grew up training in classical ballet at the Ballet Academy in Odense. Other early training included jazz, tap dance, and child acting roles at the Odense Theater. Her pursuit of dance brought her to Brigham Young University in 1987 where, as a dance major, she studied ballet, modern, and world dance. She performed and toured with the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble, expanding her dance vocabulary in multiple traditional dance techniques.
She graduated from BYU with her BA in dance in 1991 and an MA in 1995 with an emphasis in world dance pedagogy and research. As part of her graduate work she traveled to Hungary to complete field research for her master’s thesis entitled: “A Comparison of Village and Staged Versions of Selected Hungarian Dance Styles.” The following two decades included teaching, researching, and professional development as adjunct faculty in the world dance area at BYU, developing a deeper expertise in Hungarian, Scandinavian, and Irish dance techniques. She subsequently received her MFA in Performing Arts Dance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in May 2016, and presented her choreographic thesis entitled: “Hungarian Dance Works.”
Jeanette has conceived and directed full-length staged productions of traditional dance and music since 2011, including invitations and hosting of numerous guest artists and expert choreographers. She directs national and international dance performance tours, as well as local outreach and community engagement. Jeanette currently serves as president of the National Folk Organization and is a member of the Ethnochoreologist study group of the International Council for Traditional Music.
Cultural representation—its preservation, adaptation and modification—lies at the heart of her academic research and choreographic interest. Her goal is to continue contribution to the field of cultural dance research and choreography in a search for new ways to perpetuate the authenticity and increase the power of communication of cultural dance expression.
Together with her husband Mark, and their three children, they play music and conduct recreational dance events.
Breakout Session: Utah Dance Pioneer – Mary Bee Jensen (1917-2018)
Mary Bee Jensen lived her life “full speed ahead” and was a force for good, not only here in Utah, but throughout the world as she danced her way into the hearts of everyone she encountered. Her leadership and manner of directing dance reached international recognition. She changed the lives of thousands of students and dancers under her mentorship. For Mary Bee Jensen the sky was the limit! She lived by her motto: “The impossible we do at once, miracles take a little longer!” She was the founder of the International Folk Dancers at Brigham Young University, the National Folk Organization, and the U.S. Sector of the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts under the umbrella of UNESCO.
This presentation will include an overview of her life philosophies, upbringing, education, directing/teaching style, highlights of her accomplishments and far reaching influence.
Angela Banchero-Kelleher, MFA
Utah Valley University
Angela Banchero-Kelleher, MFA, is an Associate Professor of Modern Dance at Utah Valley University. She has had a professional career spanning over twenty years, including 15 years with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT), during which time she was a featured dancer in both the classical and contemporary work spanning the modern repertory from Duncan to Zvi Gotheiner. Her performance/teaching career has taken her to venues worldwide, including the La Bella Vita Arts dance workshop in Italy for 4 years and as a guest teacher at Repertory Dance Theatre’s summer workshop specializing in Humphrey/Limon technique. She maintains a deep commitment to RDT and continues to teach and reset roles for the company, most recently the solo from Pigs and Fishes by Elisa Monte as well as pursuing performing opportunities for her students with RDT, most recently, Tower by Andy Noble (2018) and Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor by Doris Humphrey. She has presented her choreography internationally, notably Lacuna in Copenhagen at the daCi International conference and Blackbird in Austria. Material Tokens of the Freedom of Thought, was selected for the gala concert at the regional ACDA concert in Missoula, Montana (2015) and is in the current repertory of Repertory Dance Theatre. She is currently pursuing scholarship that reflects her interest in dance as a vehicle for social and political activism, presenting her scholarly research internationally and co- publishing a paper in the International Journal of Arts in Society. Angela was awarded the School of the Arts Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, 2016 and Full Professor in 2019.
Break out Sessions 2 & 3: Dancing Through History (Parts 1 & 2)
Current scholarship in dance posits that dance reflects culture. This presentation will introduce participants to the study of 20th Century Western Dance History through lecture and an embodied experience loosely structured around a Modern Dance Technique class that seeks to tie evolutions in the field with historical events that supported those developments. The presenter’s experience with Repertory Dance Theatre provides the choreographic evidence that will form the movement material experienced in the sessions. The first session will cover early Duncan through Limon, the second session will introduce Cunningham through Zvi Gottheiner.
Kate Monson, MFA
Brigham Young University
Kate Monson, Assistant Professor of Dance and Faculty Affiliate of Gerontology at Brigham Young University, holds an MFA in choreography from Ohio State University and is a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. She is co-creator of Body and Brain (B2) Dance Specific Conditioning (b2conditioning.com) with Amy Markgraf (Utah Valley Univ.), co-produces On Site Mobile Dance Series (a concert dance series produced in non-traditional spaces) with Kori Wakamatsu (BYU) and Ashley Anderson, and recently finished the documentary And I Continue: A Conversation about Dancing and Aging. She loves spending summers outdoors in the sun connecting with her inner lizard and eating popsicles with her 4 kids and non-lizard husband, Quin, who is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Dept. at BYU.
Breakout Session: Exploring Aging and Ageism in Dance.
In the pursuit of virtuosity dance has often ignored longevity. As dancers age many personal and cultural assumptions are made as to their virtuosity and thus their viability as dancers, especially as It pertains to performing. These assumptions often necessitate an older dancer to reinvent their idea of “dancer” and what their career in dance looks like. In this session the short documentary, And I Continue: A Conversation on Dancing and Aging, will be viewed and used as a jumping off point for a continued conversation on the subject.
Jessica Stanley, BA
Lehi Junior High School
Jessica graduated from Brigham Young University in 1996 with a B.A. in Dance Education. Since that time, she has shared her love and joy of dance with thousands of dancers. Jessica is currently a full time dance educator at Lehi Jr High School where she has spent the last decade. A special project has been the research and development of an inclusive and adaptive dance program called Kaleidoscope! She is passionate about fostering creative artists at all levels of technical ability.
Break out Session 2: Anne Riordan & Inclusive Teaching Practices
Brent Schneider, MFA
University of Utah
Brent Schneider, MFA, is a Professor in the School of Dance at the University of Utah where he has been teaching across the curriculum for 26 years. He served the College of Fine Arts for six years as Associate Dean for Faculty, Student and Academic Affairs 2007-2013 and two years as Acting Chair of the former Department of Ballet. He has now happily returned to full-time teaching in the School. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Utah, Professor Schneider taught for seven years at Weber State University. He performed for seven years with Repertory Dance Theatre, where he also served as a teacher, rehearsal assistant, and marketing and booking director. Before joining RDT, he danced in California with several modern dance companies and taught Pilate’s technique. His dance career includes Musical Theatre experience directing, choreographing and performing in theaters throughout the region. He has performed and choreographed in many dance styles including modern, folk, ballroom, musical theatre, tap, jazz and ballet. He has created works for companies and performed internationally in Taiwan and Costa Rica. His current research interests revolve around the evolution of dance and technology.
Break out Session 2: Anne Riordan & Inclusive Teaching Practices