photograph by John Kelly
Much like The North Dakota Rural Arts Initiative we highlighted a few weeks ago, The Idaho Dance Theatre is a forward thinking arts organization that is not only operating out of its home theater in Boise, but also making a concerted effort to bring their work to rural regions of the state.
The IDT was formed in 1990 after dancers Fred and Marla Hansen (both former dancers with the American Festival Ballet) traveled to Jackson, Wyoming to perform with dancer/choreographer Carl Rowe. The warm reception generated by that performance and a second one in Boise inspired the three artists to begin the process of setting up shop in Idaho, and fulfilling a vital artistic and cultural need. Twenty years into their project, the IDT has become a beacon in the region's art scene. Here's how the Idaho Dance Theatre describes their current mission:
IDT creates and performs educational outreach and rural touring to introduce dance to a wide spectrum of people throughout the state of Idaho and in the Northwestern region of the US. It is important to us that all people are introduced to dance as an art form, no matter where they live. Creating dance audiences in the future is important to the survival of all performing arts groups, and part of our mission includes performing in the schools and communities where we live.
Our goal is to have all people experience a dance concert in their lifetimes. While not everyone may become a fan, we do believe that once they experience a performance they will become a better person for it. We strive to maintain the most professional performance at the most reasonable price that we can. Our performances are in an intimate theatre at Boise State University where we are in residence. Our residency agreement affords us rehearsal and perfoming space, but no financial support. Join our efforts by coming to our show - and bring someone new. Introduce them to your local contemporary dance company...where local dancers are afforded the chance to perform at a professional level without leaving Idaho!
The Idaho Dance Theatre works in affiliation with Boise State University to offer new programs each season--and a visit to their dancers' bio page reveals one of the most beautiful facets of this groups success: many of the dancers are Idaho natives who have been given the opportunity to pursue their craft without having to leave their home state. This program stands as a stellar example of how a single arts organization can address and help correct--beyond the stage--many of the concerns native to rural america.
Below is one short clip of the Idaho Dance Theatre's work, but there is more to be found on Youtube.