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Video Details

Ladies of the Dance: A Half-Century Tradition in Modern Dance, University of Utah

Grade Levels: 6 - 12
Core Subject(s): Fine Arts - Dance, Physical Education
Usage rights: Download and retain personal copies in perpetuity.

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  • History of Modern Dance at the University of Utah

    Modern dancer Loa Mangelson-Clawson provides a history of the Modern Dance Program at the University of Utah beginning in 1906 when actress Maude May Babcock added dance into the curriculum. In 1931 a dance trope named Orchesis performed at Kingsbury Hall and in 1940 Elizabeth Hayes, a disciple of Isdora Duncan, arrived to teach modern dance. Elizabeth Hayes describes those early days when dancers interpreted romantic music and the empasis was on expressing feelings through movements, not on technique. Later dance faculty including Ann Riordan, Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury are each introduced through a few dance steps. Historic b/w photos of early university dancers and performances are included.

    Length: 00:03:50
  • The Story of Modern Dadnce at the University of Utah Through the Experiences of Loa Mangelson-Clawso

    Modern dancer, faculty member and administrator for the University of Utah Modern Dance Program, Loa Mangelson-Clawson, talks about her own discovery of modern dance. She dances in front of Kingsbury Hall which has been the home for modern dance since it was built in the 1930s. Inside the building she shares memories of dancing there as a student and as a member of Orchesis, the modern dance troupe that was established in the early 1930s. Historic photos of her dancing are featured as she describes having been interested in ballet as a child and then switching to modern dance because she could "study a technique as well as create my own dances." She ends by dancing in the balcony.

    Length: 00:03:05
  • The Story of the Long-Tern Collaboration Between Modern Dancers Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury

    Modern dancers Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury describe having collaborated for decades, first at the University of Utah, and later as co-directors of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. They discuss their almost fifty year long collaboration and describe how they work together for the benefit of the project rather than competing for importance or control. Historical photos of their early years at the university as well as footage of them dancing are included.

    Length: 00:01:27
  • The value and Meaning of Modern Dance from the Viewpoint of the Dancer

    Co-directors of Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury perform solo dances, each using her own characteristic style and moves. Then each articulates what dance personally means to her. Ririe explains that "to dance is to live." Dance allows her to sense her whole being in a complete way and to experience her own emotional, physical and spiritual sides. Woodbury characterizes movement as "the way I experience life; I understand life through movement." Dance is her greatest joy and pleasure and she believes that "the spirit stays alive through movement." Together they talk about their various outreach programs and articulate the Ririe-Woodbury philosophy of dance that "to dance is to live" and that "everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of movement."

    Length: 00:02:52
  • The Value of Modern Dance for Disabled Students

    Modern dancer and teacher Ann Riordan talks about her career spent teaching dance to disabled students. Introduced by her colleague, Loa Belle Mangelson-Clawson, Riordan talks about discovering dance and its possibilities as a university student. She discusses how dance helped her overcome shyness and "allowed my spirit to come out," and how she discovered the importance of sharing that freedom with others, especially by teaching handicapped students, the activity she made her life's work. She explains that her own disability, rheumatoid arthritis, enabled her to better understand the needs and challenges of these students and help them succeed since "everyone has a dance inside them." Historic photos feature her dancing and a segment of her dancing solo on stage is also included.

    Length: 00:02:17



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