Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company History

Fifty Years in the Making

Ririe-Woodbury (Ri-re Wood-bûr-e) Dance Company was founded in 1964 by two Utah women, Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe, who were both professors of dance at the University of Utah. Their passion for dance not only included performing, choreographing, and teaching – it was accompanied by a deep commitment to the value of dance for everybody and its necessity in the education of youth. Over the years, the Company has grown from its beginning as a local entity into an internationally renowned contemporary dance company, having performed in every state in the U.S., as well as throughout Europe, South Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and the British Isles.

Artistic Excellence

Joan and Shirley were active in the formative programs that led to the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts. In that fertile atmosphere, the Company grew in stature and recognition. Company Alumna Emmy Thomson further advanced the vision as Associate Artistic Director from 1999-2001. Cuttingedge choreographer Charlotte Boye-Christensen joined the company in 2002, imparting unique artistry and solid technical facility. The Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance partnered with the Company in 2003 to present works of Alwin Nikolais, touring worldwide for 12 years.

Located in downtown Salt Lake City, the Company performs four different shows, annually, in the Capitol Theatre and Jeanné Wagner Center for the Performing Arts. Along with Alberto del Saz from the Nikolais/Louis Foundation, the Company is now committed to keeping alive and performing the Nikolais legacy in conjunction to our commitment to expanding our contemporary repertory.

Dance Education

In 1972, the Company was selected as one of only 20 dance companies to participate in two prestigious national initiatives: the Dance Touring Program and the Artists in the Schools Program.

This opportunity led to the creation of the Company’s education program, which became the national model for dance education in the schools—a model that still stands today.

50th Anniversary Season

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company now enters an exciting future. In June 2013, The Company welcomed Daniel Charon to succeed Charlotte as Artistic Director. Previously based in New York, Daniel brings a fresh perspective to dance in Salt Lake City. With the strength of its history, the vision of its founders, and the extraordinary ability of its management, staff, and dancers, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company will continue to be a force for innovation in contemporary dance throughout the world.

Today, Managing Director Jena Woodbury, Artistic Director Daniel Charon and Education Director Ai Fujii Nelson are committed that the mission continues to make dance a viable part of everyone’s lives, whether as observers, critics, performers or creators.

Ririe-Woodbury’s performances and educational undertakings are both a reflection of the Company’s philosophy that…

“Dance is for Everybody”