About the Company
SB Dance’s mission is to create original art for curious people. Through innovative directing and teamwork, the company strives to find novel ways of presenting its work at concerts, cultural events, and community gatherings. SB Dance believes that the experience of live art connects humanity and inspires positive change in the world. It is overseen and guided by an energetic Board of Directors.
Founded in 1996, the company presented at least one new evening-length creation every year. The repertory includes many dances, a play, two musicals, and an immersive show, all of which were conceived, written, and choreographed by SB Dance Director Stephen Brown and creative teams of performers, designers, and composers. A set, object, or device is the focal point for the content and movement of every SB Dance work. SB Dance has been recognized with NEA awards for Arts Projects, Salt Lake City Mayor’s Award, and numerous grants from public agencies and foundations.
In 2001, perceiving that its audience wanted more from a night out in downtown Salt Lake, SB Dance began to combine concerts with social events. These efforts blossomed into a series of community initiatives and partnerships. One activated downtown Salt Lake during the Sundance Film Festival and partnered with Sundance, the Utah Film Commission, and others. Another initiative—Eat Drink SLC—has grown into the county’s premier food and libation festival, notable for featuring performing art every year. These events all feature SB Dance, put the company in front of new audiences, and allow it to engage the community on different platforms.
When the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown occurred and people could not go to the theater, SB Dance decided to take theater to the people. It devised an innovative program called Curbside Theater, a traveling micro-stage with technical lighting and live music. Curbside Theater took place outdoors for small, socially-distanced gatherings. It was performed almost 100 times to a total of 1,500 people during the height of the pandemic and, to our knowledge, was the only program of its kind in the region. A surprise success, the program brings people together and carves a new market space for professional, open-air theater that is adaptable, accessible, and affordable. Curbside Theater is currently SB Dance’s primary programming focus.
Stephen Brown (Artistic / Executive Director)
Stephen glimpsed dance for the first time as a freshman in college in the mid-80s. He soon left school altogether to take a deep dive into this mysterious art form. Relentlessly studying modern and ballet (back then, it was all about ballet on the bottom and modern on top), he eventually wound up working with Repertory Dance Theater and Ririe-Woodbury in Utah, then Mark Morris and others in New York, and finally as a freelancer around the country, spending several seasons with Sharir Dance Company in Austin, where he began to choreograph more consistently with funding from the City of Austin. Along the way, he graduated with a BS in Molecular Genetics, Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University in New York. In fact, he was on the gravy train to grad school to play with fruit flies before he hopped off and returned to dance (kids, don’t do that to your parents).
Stephen started his own thing, in 1996, moving back to his home state of Utah where there were many terrific dancers, a 200-seat blackbox under construction, and a new County arts grant program. His vision was a creative lab, centered around new work and formats. Artistic teams morphed from project to project, and the goal was always to choose adventure over survival. More than 20 years later, SB Dance has a reputation for off-beat and earthy humor, athletic physicality, tickling taboos, toying with form, and going for it. Stephen serves on arts and community boards, speaks up for independent artists, and is a husband and pa, fitness psycho, and always a dreamer.
Raffi Shahinian and Ischa Bee: Raffi, guitarist extraordinaire whose calm, cool exterior barely conceals wild hilarity and fun; Ischa is a singer, actor, and dabbler in much and many; together they are Raffi & Ischa, an electro-pop duo with original songs, covers, films, and multi-media experiences; making SBD better since 2015.
Ari Hassett: dancer, bioengineer, and fearless delver-into-er of everything; small but fierce in body, mind, spirit, and mustache; SBDer since 2019.
Bashaun Williams: Texan balletrhino turned modern man; spent a decade plus with the Woodbunnies; spin doctoring, Eko-dadding, lart-gigging spreader of luv; playing the SBD game since 2020.
Florian Alberge: dancer, actor, sexy French homme who enjoys being rolled in sushi; classified background in theater espionage and subversion; on and off since 2015
Nora Price: Dancer, musician, Linguistics BA, and film student; Midwest roots working, making, and propagating in SLC since ’09; ongoing love affair with words, hot coffee, slow cinema, and dead pointe shoes ; joined the gang in 2023
Cameron Mertz: Ingredients mixed in NoCal and baked in a BFA at Utah; icing has been dance for the camera and many project gigs; yoga cert on top; jumped on the train in 2023
Carolyn “Winnie” Wood (Show Fixer)
Winnie has had a long and complicated career in the performing arts which included a long association with the Repertory Dance Theatre, founding Dance Theatre Coalition, and performing and writing a monthly radio comedy show on KRCL for ten years. She has acted and danced in, directed, choreographed and produced theatrical productions for almost 30 years, received the Mayor’s Artist of the Year Award, and was instrumental in the completion of the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Head of drama program at Wasatch Academy for 15 years and now freelancing and developing projects in film and theater.
Nathan Shaw: co-creator, dancer, singer; skipping on stages, throwing bodies, and making everyone laugh for SBD since 2006; RDTea vet; teacher o’ year at Judge High; leather-luvin’ weight-pumpin’ bear boy.
Jess Greenberg: lighting design; Theater and Design faculty at Weber State; warrior instincts with painter’s eye; teaching a corps of the best and brightest lights in tech; acclaimed for work in stages across the nation
Paul Christean: photographer, philosophizor, and conjurer; makes us look good and often better
John Brandon: photographer, patron saint, alien confessor; captures what’s there and what’s not; never ask him what he’s wearing
ALUM AND RINGERS
Jorji Diaz Fadel: dancer, actor, podder, and fashionistina; legs for dayz life-lovin U o’ U grad; started with SBD in 2022 but born ready to roll.
Ashley Chin-Mark: ‘rina from Sactown who can do anything dance, U of U grad, Sewell Ballet alum, Hello Kitty fanatic, avid reader (like, seriously, when is her nose not in a book?)
Annie Kent: dancer, actor, trainer of tone, twists and turns; changing hearts and minds for SBD since 2013.
Christine Hasegawa dancer, powder princess; sorceress with SBD since 2000; RWDC soldier before that; most often quoted as saying “Stephen is going to change it anyway”
Natosha Washington: dancer, teacher, choreographer, and director of Penguin Lady Collective; fireball combo of strength, smarts, and love; doodling with SBD since 2009.
John Allen: dancer, choreo, guest teacher, movement therapist, psychic traveler, and hammock rocker; RWDC alum, former Tulane faculty and NO-ite; playing with SB Dance since 2013.
Juan Carlos Claudio: dancer, teacher, cheerleader, clown; with SBD since 1999; RWDC vet; past life as U of U asst prof/lecturer; entrepreneur in arts therapy; from PR but his ass is now owned by Utah.
Dan Larrinaga: actor, singer who’s been pounding the Utah stage for everyone from SLAC to Desert Star to SB Dance since potty training; waiting for Stephen to cast him in sky blue tights as the Nutcracker Prince
Kimberly Campa: ballroom, leaper before looker in the best of ways; ballroom instructor and competitor in ballroom
Rick Santizo: dancer, gymnastics coach, and hottie acrobat; sassy when provoked especially by stage moms; spunky spinner of many things
Payden “Pay Pay” Adams: actor, chanteuse, danseuse, and lamb chop; Disney detective; taller than his car is long and more persuasive than a silver bullet