Meet the women who transformed dance education, contemporary dance in Utah


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SALT LAKE CITY — The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company is celebrating 60 years of inspiring people to find joy through movement.

The female-founded company was started by Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury in 1964, with a mission that every person deserves to dance.

Both Ririe and Woodbury left the teaching and directing worlds behind after decades of work, but their legacy is continued by the company.

A company with a mission

Joan Woodbury didn’t know dance was going to be her career, but she did know it was the “one thing in my life that brought joy and pleasure,” she told

The Cedar City native, received an honorary doctorate degree and a standing ovation for her dedication to the craft at her alma mater Southern Utah University’s April commencement.

“You worked hard to get here and there’s so many wonderful unknowns in…

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