As much new ground as Good Company Theatre has broken with its cutting-edge dramatic plays in the last seven years, there’s still much more to break.
And some of that ground-breaking comes this week, when the Ogden-based theater company offers its first-ever dance concert.
“SPHERE: In Between” will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Jan. 17-18, at Good Company Theatre, 2404 Wall Ave., in Ogden. Tickets are $20, available through goodcotheatre.com or at the door on the night of the performance.
This will be GCT’s first dance concert since the theater opened back in 2012.
“We’re branching out,” said GCT co-founder Alicia Washington.
The program will feature three new works, 70 minutes of movement, from a trio of dance troupes based in Northern Utah — joBdance, LAJAMARTIN, and The Penguin Lady Dance Collective.
“It really is such a beautiful collaboration,” Washington said. “Not only is it three Ogden and Salt Lake-based dance companies, but the founders and directors are all artists of color.”
“SPHERE: In Between” is the second in an ongoing series of “SPHERE” concerts. It features original choreography by Joseph Blake, Laja Field and Martin Durov, and Natosha Washington.
According to a GCT news release, “SPHERE was conceptualized as a coming together of three very distinct, bold, and innovative voices within the Utah dance community that immerses audiences in a captivating evening of raw physicality, nuanced emotion, and rich symbolism.”
The ball got rolling last fall when Washington was introduced to Blake, the new assistant professor of dance at Weber State University. The two artists met up for coffee one day.
“It was one of those moments where the artistic sparks totally started to fly,” Washington recalls. “He has such a strong collaborative sense that I knew something was on the horizon for us — I just didn’t expect it so soon.”
Washington later realized the theater had an open weekend in January. She texted Blake, asking if he thought they could put together a dance concert in January.
Blake and the other choreographers met Washington at the theater, looked over the space and “by the end of the night we all thought, ‘We can make this work in January,’” Washington said.
Washington said the 75-seat Good Company Theatre has moved into a new era, and that it feels good to have the assurance and confidence that they can put together a show so quickly. She also likes that artists from Salt Lake City are coming to an Ogden venue.
“I love that we’ve started this new vein of artists coming back and forth between Salt Lake and Ogden,” Washington said. “Artists have been going to Salt Lake for years — it’s time they make the opposite drive to Ogden.”
Washington says it’s not the first time Good Company has ventured beyond theater performances. They partnered with a local podcast for a literary death match last October, and she’s long had the idea of something akin to a rap battle in the theater.
“I’m always up for ideas, like kids programs or youth events — maybe a night of opera scenes,” Washington said.
Washington says she and her sister, Camille Washington, founded their small theater company with the idea of trying to interact with audiences “differently.” This dance concert will further that goal.
“For me, what I wanted to start to do is engage the audience and almost have them as part of the show and part of the set,” she said.
In “those moments of storytelling,” Washington says, it’s so much more engaging when the audience is close enough “to see what drips off the artist’s brow.”