The School of Dance Returns with ‘Fall Dance 1′ Both Live and Livestreamed


“Fall Dance 1” promotional image. (Courtesy University of Utah School of Dance)

By Tervela Georgieva, Arts Writer


On Oct. 7, the University of Utah’s School of Dance opened its season with the “Fall Dance 1” concert. I was so excited to finally get to watch a School of Dance performance again — the last time I had was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this time would be different.

This time I was pulling out my laptop, turning off the lights, and closing the door to my room. I watched the performance as it was live-streamed from the Hayes Christensen Theatre at the Marriott Center for Dance. While “Fall Dance 1” was a return to in-person performance, with limited in-person seating and a continued pandemic, the School of Dance has decided to live-stream the performance free of charge to provide a greater accessibility to the arts something we need now more than ever.  

An Exciting Return

“Fall Dance 1” showcased four pieces, featuring work from choreographers Penny Saunders, Natalie Desch, Justine Sheedy-Kramer and Bashaun Williams, as well as staging from the concert’s director Pablo Piantino.

The performance was eclectic, combining a wide range of movement styles such as ballet, contemporary and modern — highlighting the talent and range of the dancers.

Each piece explored togetherness and transition in a unique way. 

“Sur la Fil,” choreographed by Saunders and staged by Piantino, was effervescent. Its balletic lifts and jumps gave it a quality of airiness and elusiveness. Its play with light created a divide between what happens in the light and what happens in the dark, bringing to life a boundary simultaneously definite and indefinite. Moments of partnership between dancers were intimate and disarming, showcasing tender and total surrender. 

“Bound Together,” choreographed by Desch in collaboration with the dancers, showcased the relationship between community and individual. In some moments, the dancers performed the same movements as a group and showcased their togetherness. In others, each moved differently, their individuality within the group standing out. In “Bound Together,” the stage is a sacred space where individuals come together to create community. 

The ethereal balletic movements of Sheedy-Kramer’s “Threshold” shine light on the gentleness possible at life’s thresholds. Alternating between solo and group performance, the dancers show us the simultaneous togetherness and individuality when we are at a threshold. 

“The Next Chapter,” choreographed by Williams in collaboration with the dancers, explored the transitions that take place in life and on the performance stage. The dancers embodied a loose movement style, reflecting the indefinite quality of transitions. Dancers form a strong group that mesmerizes with its precision of movement.   

The Next Chapter

Bashaun Williams’ “The Next Chapter” finishes the concert and begins the future. No matter who we are, we are all in a moment of transition. “Fall Dance 1” is a testament to how we need each other — both at the level of constructing a dance concert and as artists and audience.

Live performance brings us together in ways we cannot have known until now. We must stay connected to the arts and each other — live or live-stream — in whatever way we can.

“Fall Dance 1” runs through Oct. 23. For in-person tickets, visit To stream “Fall Dance 1” and future School of Dance performances free of charge, visit


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