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Ririe-Woodbury visits the Carpenter Center

The Utah-based company has connections with CSULB.


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The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company stopped at Cal State Long Beach’s Carpenter Performing Arts Center as part of it’s 50th anniversary tour, featuring a myriad of dance pieces that changed in tone and style throughout.

Students and dance enthusiasts filled the Carpenter Center Saturday evening to help Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company (RWDC) celebrate its anniversary.

World-renowned RWDC is a Utah-based dance company known for commissioning works by a range of choreographers including Keith Johnson, a former RWDC dancer and modern technique professor for the dance department at CSULB, according to the RDWC website. CSULB alumna Tara McArthur performed in Saturday’s show, as well.

Ririe-Woodbury’s performance was characteristically modern, as the movements in their performances told stories. Since the dances aren’t bound by specific types of movement or sound like other dances, each performance seemed drastically different.

Three of the dances were freshly choreographed within the last two years and premiered for the first time in Southern California on Saturday night, according to the Carpenter Center website.
The dance choreographed by Charlotte Boye-Christensen, “The Finish Line,” was a fast-paced duet featuring two dancers competing and racing around the stage. The dynamic movements, paired with the musical score created intensity and a sense of speed.

A couple of the dancers took some big risks with moves that left some of the audience members gasping.

“Secret Dark World,” was choreographed by Johnson with the help of CSULB dance students, provided a twisted take on the life of a child. It began slowly with a man crawling on the floor like an infant towards his beckoning mother’s voice. He grew into a toddler and eventually went off to school. The single dancer intro changed into a group dance and the story began. The constant conflict and competition depicted in the dance symbolized an adolescent’s struggle with bullying.

The culminating dance, “If My Right Hand Would Say What My Left Hand Thought” was choreographed by Alicia Sanchez and featured all the dancers. The dancers were running around in the background with some dancing in between, representing the fast-paced city life much similar to Long Beach. The dance featured brighter lighting effects and a voice-over combined with music to tell the story of a man who was new to the city and eventually overwhelmed and fell into poverty by the end.

RWDC also participated in the Carpenter Center’s new arts education program on Friday, “Arts for Life.”

RWDC provided the first performance of the Carpenter Center’s 2013-2014 dance series. Tickets for future shows can be purchased at the Arts Ticket office on Atherton Street.

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