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Bill Evans

Bill Evans is a dancer, choreographer and teacher who has had a major impact on the development of Repertory Dance Theatre.  As one of RDT's most prolific and renowned alumni dancers, Bill is a Utah artistic champion who continues to inspire us. Bill's dedication to the art of dance has influenced countless artists, educators and audiences worldwide.  In more than 300 works he has explored a diverse lexicon of movement that celebrates the power of dance to enliven the senses, to entertain and to enlighten.  His choreography celebrates the power of the human spirit.

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Photo by Sharon Kain


download 9Bill Evans is a Utah native that was born in Lehi, Utah. He was a dancer and choreographer with RDT from 1967-1974. He has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with the company for which he has created 20 works. He has returned often as a teacher, guest performer and serves on the RDT National Advisory Board.

Since 1974, Bill has become an internationally known choreographer, performer, teacher, administrator, author, movement analyst, adjudicator, and speaker.  His work has taken him to all 50 states and 27 different countries.

He has been awarded many grants and fellowships and lifetime achievement awards, and taught at the University of Utah, University of Washington, Indiana University, University of New Mexico, SUNY Brockport, and Dean College.

Evans describes his choreography in three words.  I chose somatic, heartfelt and accessible: somatic because I have investigated my bodily wisdom, anatomy and physiology to create a movement language and performance style that I hope communicates directly to the sensory apparatus of the viewer; heartfelt, because I have created each of my works to distill in time and space (however ephemerally) something that I have cared about passionately; accessible, because I invite the viewer into my dances. I want the dancers to come across as human and hope that audiences might imagine they could jump up on stage and join us.

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Suite Benny from QUADRUPLE BILL; choreographed by Bill Evans; photo by Sharon Kain


Through creation and performance of concert works, we can dig down deep inside and find the most significant parts of ourselves.  When I make, rehearse, and perform dances, I access the most salient aspects of myself as both a unique individual and a member of the human race.  The kind of dance that I learned to love during my seven years as a full-time member of RDT, and have investigated ever since, is life-affirming and celebratory.

I grew up in a small Utah farming town in the 1940s. When I was 3, I saw a Fred Astaire film at the Mormon ward house. Immediately, I started inventing my own dance steps. My parents refused to buy me tap shoes, so I held my older brother’s marbles under my toes to make noise. They finally relented and let me put taps on my Sunday shoes. When I was 8, my father enrolled me in a combination tap/ballet class taught by Charles Purrington, a retired vaudevillian hoofer. I spent hours a week making up dances to record recordings by such artists as Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters and teaching them to my younger sister. We performed at church socials, weddings, every possible school function and on local television programs. The bullying I endured from schoolmates was relentless and excruciating, but I knew that dance was my calling, and nothing could make me stop.

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Crippled Up Blues from QUADRUPLE BILL; choreographed by Bill Evans; photo by Sharon Kain


My spirit soared when I danced. I developed a vivid imagination and a profound love of motion and rhythm. I had been a lost little boy who didn’t fit in, but I was transformed by the process of creating and sharing sounds and movement. I became a fledgling artist able to connect to the universe through the infectious rhythms on those records and the approval I received from imaginary audiences. I discovered my way of being fully alive. I started teaching my own classes at age 13, choreographed my first evening- length production at 14, and opened my own studio at age 17.

bill Evans cropI escaped to Salt Lake City (where I danced in many different capacities at the University of Utah), and then to New York, Chicago, Seattle, Albuquerque, and the many other cities of the world where I have spent my life dancing.

I still feel alive when performing to a degree I rarely experience at other times: I am fully present in body- mind and the moment; I feel vibrant in each cell of my body, every second of time; my senses of hearing and movement are exquisitely intense. I am transported to a compellingly harmonious world, and the endless and challenging work (teaching, directing, coaching, scheduling, selecting costumes, designing lights, coordinating with managers and technicians, marketing, raising money, watching my diet, staying in shape) seems well worth it.

For me, dance is primarily an activity of the human spirit. My personal regeneration practice is centered in daily sessions of Laban/Bartenieff–inspired modern dance and rhythm tap improvisations. I am nearly always in rehearsal for my next series of performances. Making dances and sharing them is a demanding but uplifting process. I find it wholly positive and life affirming. I value the absolute truth I find in the body moving more profoundly than ever. I do not regret a single day I spent dancing.

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Petroglyph from QUADRUPLE BILL; choreographed by Bill Evans; photo by Sharon Kain

What People are Saying

The diversity of the dancers really spoke to my students! It was great to see boys and girls dancing, and different races. The high level of engagement was so refreshing and got students excited about thecontent.
This activity was valuable because it helped students make connections between dance, rhythm, healthy lifestyles, and expression. The students were impressed by the talent of the dancers and it was motivating to them.
Opportunities for art and expression are so limited at school but so essential and valuable for all students, especially those who struggle to learn through traditional methods. My Kindergarteners have been dancing since you left!
This was so engaging. I looked around the auditorium and every student was watching. Not one person was talking or distracted
This activity is valuable to teachers and students because it gives them a creative outlet. We need movement in the classroom to engage, energize and deepen student learning.
I got great ideas on how to incorporate movement into math and science lessons.
I loved how you made movement and exercise relatable to the students. The dancers were full of energy and there was very little down time so students stayed engaged.
Our children were captivated by the performance. They listened to you and they were learning without knowing. They usually giggle when bodies are shown and talked about. But the way you presented it was so tastefully done, they now do poses and movement around the room and outside. You brokesome barriers and they took that permission and literally ran with it!