Kelly Roth & Dancers
MALE & FEMALE DANCERS
KELLY ROTH & DANCERS is looking for modern and ballet trained performers to begin rehearsals for the 22nd annual Las Vegas Dance in the Desert Festival 2020, as well as future projects to be announced. Serious inquiries welcome.
Contact us or call/text (702)504-4578.
"KELLY ROTH is one of the most exciting modern dancers and choreographers on today's dance scene." - Dance Spirit Magazine
KELLY ROTH & DANCERS is a post-modern dance company dedicated to the promulgation of dance as a viable twenty-first century art form capable of expressing a broad range of human concerns. In residence at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, the company's repertory is generated by choreographer Kelly Roth and covers a variety of subject matter and aesthetic approaches from pure abstraction to dance theatre with an often comedic flare. Company size varies according to project needs but generally sports a core of at least 6-8 members.
Kelly Roth & Dancers was founded in New York City in 1978, giving its debut performance in January of the following year at Lincoln Square. Since Mr. Roth's departure from the city in 1985 the company has followed him to various locations across the United States, including Arizona, Wisconsin, and for the past several years in Nevada. As a now western-based organization, Mr. Roth & company have appeared at the Avignon Festival in France, the International Choreographic Festival in Mexico City, the Prague Dance and Theatre Festival, the Dance Grand Prix Italia, the Barcelona Dance Awards, and to frequent engagements around the western United States.
EMAV Review: Kelly Roth & Dancers serve up evocative postmodern fare
September 29, 2017
★★★★☆ - Delicious
Kelly Roth & Dancers presented a vibrant, free concert recently at Summerlin Library, co-sponsored by Las Vegas Clark County Library District and New Dance Foundation for the Arts, Inc. Roth casually spoke to the audience between pieces during the first act, not only to kill time for set and costume changes but also to educate about what we were seeing onstage. He is the Director of the CSN Dance Program, after all, and also happens to be a professor with a keen sense of humor.
“Did you ever think you’d see Colonel Sanders dance like that?” he joked after opening the show with the premiere of his solo “Sayings of Super Cookie,” dedicated to his mentor Murray Louis. Decked out in a bowler hat, striped shirt, and tuxedo coat, Roth dances with a jazzy, whimsical flair and brings to mind a Charlie Chaplin-ish mime. Set to the music of Francisco Tarrega arranged by Mike Oldfield, the panpipe synth sounds also give the piece an eerie, music-box feel.
Roth dedicated “Hernaeus & Taphea, part three” (1991) to early modern dancer Isadora Duncan, who was inspired by the ancient Greeks. Set to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a satyr chases a beautiful maiden, and three statue-like girls in diaphanous dresses transform into fountains by standing in kiddie pools and pouring water out of plastic jugs. It’s a comical piece and it’s fun to see the simple movements of sweeping arms, hops, and poses as Duncan might have performed them a century ago.
The elegant Yoomi Lee graced us with her pure, uncomplicated portrayal of “The Dying Swan,” Mikhail Fokine’s 1905 classic piece set to music by Camille Saint-Saens. Lee seems to float on raw emotion as she bourées across the stage, her expression growing more and more sorrowful and her undulating arms as wings frantic yet graceful as the fateful moment nears.
Roth composed “A Trimbling” (2017) in memory of Mary Trimble, a longtime Las Vegas violist who was slain during a robbery in her home. Set to Sergei Prokofiev’s “String Quartet No. 1” performed live by the pristine UNLV Graduate String Quartet (Dmytro Nehrych and Yestyn Griffith on Violin, Tobias Roth on Viola, and Adam Stiber on cello), it's a piece in three movements that begins brightly and ends somberly, presumably echoing Trimble’s life. Being abstract in style it isn’t always accessible, and among dancers there’s a noticeable unevenness in experience and training. Still, performers are well-matched and in sync in individual groupings, they all give the piece a palpable poignancy of feeling, and there are some lovely pairings which feature difficult angular lifts and tender gestures.
During the hypnotic “Interlopian Tubes” (2016) the intuitive beauty of the postmodern tradition shines through Roth’s fluid choreography and the dynamic dancing of Carrie L. Miles, Yoomi Lee, Jennifer Roberts, Kaylee Hannig, and Christina Stockdale. Set to the atmospheric music of David Longstreth, Louis Andriessen, and Evan Ziporyn, the piece features the paintings of Emily McIlroy--which resemble internal female organs--projected on the backdrop, and lit tubes onstage out of which dancers emerge. They each perform an intricate, unique solo that captures some aspect of the female experience, or maybe a different aspect of one woman who may or may not be dreaming. It’s a stunning, sleeper of a dance.
Roth’s “Iron Rod” (2006) features the magical iron rod as the pathway to the Tree of Life. Thor Ellyk’s music gives a dreamy, cinematic sound as the dancers move in different groupings, carrying and balancing their rods, doing extensions and sissones under a single beam of light shining down.
“Elegy to Murray” (2016) is another ode to Louis, with Roth dancing a contemplative piece by embodying thoughts, emotions, and memories as his son Tobias Kremer Roth plays Igor Stravinsky on violin. And Roth presents his version of Fokine’s 1911 ballet burlesque “Petrushka” (2016) set to Stravinsky’s music with costumes after Alexandre Benois’ originals by Cynthia DuFault. Hannig plays the rag doll puppet Petrushka, Miles dances the ballerina puppet doll with whom Petrushka is in love, Lorenzo Valoy portrays the handsome Moor puppet who Ballerina fancies, and Daniel Mendoza is the Magician who owns them all. It’s delightfully danced and mimed in a puppet-like way, captures the vintage Ballet Russes flair, and is a fitting, fun finale.
Kudos to other dancers who give their all, including Ariadna Ramirez, Makena Kimani, Chaslina Cress, and Alexis Portillo; to lighting designers Roth and jody Caley; to costume designers Catherine Sterle, Audrey Ketchell, and DuFault; to set designer Staci Walters; and to video editors Roth and Jeremiah Johnson.
- GERI JETER, LAS VEGAS WEEKLY (2009)
Thirty years after Kelly Roth & Dancers’ New York debut, the company will present a retrospective of dances and multimedia projects created by its choreographer and director, Kelly Roth.
The Onyx Theatre’s intimate performance space offers a different perspective on dance works usually seen in larger theaters. More exposed due to the viewers’ proximity, dancers have an opportunity to personally connect with audience members.
The varied program focuses primarily on Roth’s extensive career experience as a partner, ranging from the lyrical and abstract “Mozart Duet” an homage to Roth’s mentor Murray Louis—to “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” a nostalgic and wistful tribute to his parents set to popular music from the 1950's.
Two special guest artists will join the company. Neo-burlesque comedienne Emily Lauren, an Onyx audience favorite, appears in “Mein Kampf,” a quirky black comedy featuring Hitler and a Chaplin-esque foil. And the prize-winning “Sentience” will reunite Roth with his former partner, Middle Eastern dance scholar and performer Angela Palmeri-Davis.
These duets are made-to-order for the cozy Onyx stage. More challenging for the company in this space: a reprise of the group work “Hernaeus and Taphea, Part 3,” billed as the “World’s First Wet T-Shirt Contest.” Local choreographer and dancer Marko Westwood is the featured satyr, whose hot pursuit of the local Greek maidens takes an unexpected comic turn. Feel free to laugh out loud during that one.
Dancer: Kelly Roth
"Kelly Roth, A Modern Dance Leader in Las Vegas"
-ANDREA ADRUSKIN, LAS VEGAS PERFORMING ARTS (2010)
At the helm of the dance program at College of Southern Nevada (CSN) since 1995, Kelly Roth has introduced the community college crowd to New-York style performance, and welcomed new dancers of all backgrounds to his classes and performances. Here are excerpts of a conversation we had recently.
Andrea: What are the greatest changes you’ve seen or made happen since you took charge of the dance program at CSN formerly Community College of Southern Nevada?
Kelly Roth: Our enrollment in the program has gone from 125 students to 600. We’ve added an annual festival concert, “Dance in the Desert”. We’ve introduced more formal training classes in ballet and modern dance technique. The emphasis of the program has been changed to teaching dance as an art form, instead of as a form of exercise. When you study dance as an art form, there are a lot of ancillary subjects that contribute to your understanding of what art is. I feel that this results in a more well-rounded education for students, as it exposes them to a broader array of topics.
The dance program offerings have also been modified in the last 15 years to offer multiple levels of technique in ballet and modern, and we added a dance performance class which anyone could take, anyone who wanted to perform. We added Concert Dance Company, which people had to audition for, and that enabled us to have a consistent group of people to work with. Some of those people stayed in the company for 8 years. We’ve had a consistent core of male dancers in the Company for a long time, which makes us the envy of every small company in the valley.
We focus on the Alwin Nikolais/Murray Louis technique more than other Las Vegas dance programs do. It teaches elements of time, motion, shape, space, and dynamics – the degree of release of energy. Those are things you can apply to any form of dance because all forms of dance are composed of those elements. So that’s a unique emphasis that we have here [at CSN].
The “Dance in the Desert” (DITD) festival is unique to our academic program because UNLV doesn’t have a dance festival. At CSN, we can do large, expansive works, since we have fewer choreographers to accommodate on a single program, due to our smaller faculty. We could even do evening-length works, if we wanted to, or three different works with two intermissions. This would be more like the New York dance scene, instead of the 2-3 minute pieces that many other concerts are doing these days. Longer programs help students learn that dance is an art, like opera, and not just a passing image or short segment, like dance in videos and on competitive TV shows is, so often.
DITD is also unique to us in that it brings out-of-state companies here, which is great for the audience and for our CSN dancers, who can then see the trends that are out there and experience different choreographers.
A: Do you see growth or contraction in the recent Las Vegas performing arts scene?
Kelly Roth & Dancers
KR: I don’t see growth. With the death of the Choreographer’s Showcase at Charleston Heights Arts Center, we lost a focal point, a good mix of genres, and the intermingling of professionals with college students. It went for 25 years, and then it ended. The management there said they were going to focus on single-company events, instead, but that never really happened, and now there’s no high-level dance performance there. And no real community-wide dance event for serious, original works at all in the city. At least, not one where college dancers and professionals from the Las Vegas Strip shows are on the same stage.
The Reed Whipple center used to host dance concerts, but not anymore. The Smith Center is not going to have a small proscenium theater, either, that local companies could have used for performances. This is disappointing to small dance companies in town. The other sign of decline is recent massive increases in the [Clark County] library theaters’ rental fees. When I first got to town, I was amazed that libraries had these great little theaters that were available to the public at very affordable prices for non-profits. It was really terrific. But now that they’ve hiked their fees considerably [due to the state’s and county’s economic woes] it leaves most independent small companies without a real theater to perform in. Companies like Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater, Las Vegas Ballet Company, and Marko Westwood have no place to go now.
The most affordable venue may be CSN’s Horn Theater. It’s a terrific space. It’s a 524-seat proscenium theater with full lighting and sound systems. It has kept its rates down and is available to the public. It may soon be hard to get a booking there, since the schedule is filling up.
A: What is the mission of the CSN dance program?
KR: The short version of the mission statement of the CSN dance program is that we see dance as one of the many art forms that humanizes our society and that plays a very strong role in education.
A: How has the state legislative session of 2011 affected CSN’s Dance program?
KR: Well, it’s hard to really understand what’s going on sometimes. The figures are constantly changing. So far, there’s a 2.5% cut in salaries, and there may be an additional 2.5% cut next year, which affects all faculty. The performance budget is always up in the air. I’ve produced dance concerts in all kinds of economic circumstances. It’s been said that after a nuclear holocaust, the roaches and the dancers will be the only ones crawling out from under the rubble; that’s how tenacious dancers are when they want to perform. So, I’m used to doing what I can with what I have. The Fine Arts Department has been really generous with us so far, and that’s really helped us out. Friends of the Horn is a group that gives us a lot of support. DitD Festival sincerely appreciates the consistent support provided by the Nevada Arts Council, which has made an important difference throughout the years. For some of our grants, we have to find matching funds, so private donors have been a saving grace for us.
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