In the Spotlight: Sayoko Knode of the Idaho Dance Theater

Sayoko Knode is excited to be back for her second season with The Idaho Dance Theater. A native of Seattle, WA, she trained in classical ballet at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She then attended the University of Utah where she earned her BFA and MFA in ballet and choreography. While in Utah, she performed ballets by Val Caniporoli, Lauren Edson, Edgar Zendegas, Richard Tjia, Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Kent Stowell, Jiang Qi, Alex Ketley, George Balanchine, Conrad Ludlow, Bruce Wells, Donald Byrd, Stephanie Saland, and Sonia Dawkins.

As a choreographer, Sayoko has been invited as a guest choreographer for a Gala performance in Tokyo, Japan, with Valentio Bartes Ballet Company. She has also worked with Ballet West Academy’s Summer Intensive, Regional Dance America’s Craft of Choreography Conference, the University of Utah’s resident company-Utah Ballet, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance’s Choreographic Residency, and Ballet Bellevue. She has also choreographed contemporary solos for the Youth America Grand Prix over the last four years and received

What is the Idaho Dance Theater?

In the fall of 1989 Marla and Fred Hansen, former dancers with the American Festival Ballet, were invited to do a concert in Jackson, Wyoming at the Red Garter Theater. Fred and Marla invited Carl Rowe, a modern dancer living in Sun Valley, to join them as a performer and choreographer. The three dancers collected a group of Boise dancers, rehearsed in donated space, and presented a full evening of eclectic dance to an enthusiastic Jackson audience.

After all the work of preparing that concert, the company decided to perform the same concert in Boise. That, too, went well. In the spring of 1990 they again assembled dancers and joined forces to present their 2nd Boise concert, featuring the choreography of all three. They secured 501 (c) (3) status in 1991, adopted the Idaho Dance Theatre name, and began to seriously operate a contemporary dance company.

In 1991 Carl Rowe became a co-artistic director along with Marla and Fred. The early years were a mix of exciting performances and difficult times for the three directors. After enduring an injury that failed to heal, Fred retired from the stage and took up lighting design, becoming the company's technical director. Marla became a full-time, tenured professor at BSU. Carl took an interest in fine arts painting and eventually became a professional painter. During this time Carl and Marla continued to choreograph, direct, and manage the company, expanding their seasons to three annual concerts and touring Idaho and Oregon.

In 1996 the company was able to hire its first full time managing director. Idaho Dance Theatre is the first professional dance company to be founded in Boise, and it is the only Boise arts organization still being directed by its original founding artistic directors. It is also the only anchor arts organization that creates its own body of work. The company, now celebrating its 25st season, has engaged over 100 Idaho dancers and numerous guest choreographers, musicians, actors, and designers.

Idaho Dance Theatre has professional management staff, an energetic board of directors, and an artistic staff that meets the highest standards of the dance world.

The company has a history of collaboration with all of the performing arts. Its choreography is original, compelling and diverse featuring both ballet and all varieties of modern dance.

Its three original founders have been awarded four Fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and one Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. Their commitment to dance and Idaho Dance Theatre is as strong as when the company was founded. They continue to pursue their dream of building an Idaho contemporary dance company of the highest caliber.

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