My name is
Pilar Davis. I work in the Performing Arts and I wouldn’t be here without ZAP.
I grew up
in Ogden. In the bad years. We were poor, hitting the stereotypical markers
you’ve heard: public assistance, food assistance, single-parent household,
brown, subsidized housing, sketchy neighborhood—you get the idea. My childhood
was difficult; living in poverty is hard and full of sorrow, crushed dreams,
and disappointments. When I was in the 2nd grade, my school offered the reward
of a trip to Salt Lake (in the middle of the day!) to the Capitol Theatre to
see a matinee performance by Repertory Dance Theatre. I was a good student and
got to attend.
Beaux Arts Ball, 2014
– It was the first show I’d ever attended. It changed everything. I was hooked.
I remember the show was about science and germs—taught and conveyed through dance.
I had never seen ANYTHING like it, felt anything like being in the theater in
the dark with 1500 other kids, and I wanted MORE.
As I got
older, I was so fortunate to have several more opportunities to attend final
dress rehearsals or daytime school matinees from a wide variety of Salt Lake arts companies: Ririe-Woodbury, Utah Opera, Odyssey Dance, Ballet West, Pioneer
Theatre, Utah Symphony. I saw the despair and sacrifice of Madama Butterfly’s
final moments. I watched the devotion and heartbreak of Quasimodo’s love for
Esmeralda. I learned about space and freedom through the movement of Doug Varone
and Bill T. Jones. I learned about ancient rituals, stories and civilizations
that we as the human race have been sharing with each other for millennia. I
became a more well-rounded citizen, and I became a storyteller, too.
You’re a Good Man
Charlie Brown, Weber State University, 1999
school, I threw myself into theater and dreamed of gracing stages all across the
world as a performer, personality and storyteller. Upon graduation, I was
awarded a scholarship to Weber State University and became one of the only
people in my family to go to college. My first semester, I enrolled in a required
basic stagecraft class and on the first day of class I found my place in the
world. My professor handed out gel sample books and fireworks exploded in my
head. I had never seen so many colors in one place all neat, and beautiful and
full of possibilities. It a was a simultaneously quiet and provocative moment
that happened in an instant—I would be a lighting designer.
tour at Mount Rushmore, 2016
immediately changed majors. I transferred to the University of Utah and moved
to Salt Lake City to be closer to the downtown arts scene and the greater
opportunities therein. I worked a lot, and I worked hard. I met and worked with
some amazing artists, professionals, and organizations. I graduated. I got
married. In 2016, in a lovely poetic and full-circle turn of events, I got hired
as the Production Stage Manager and Lighting Director for Repertory Dance
Theatre, a position I continue to hold. I succeeded.
Director of Ailey II in his awesome hoodie, 2017
past 15 years, I’ve had the truly spectacular opportunities to work with
national and global performance groups; I’ve created new work, new art, told
new stories. I’ve laughed, cried, loved, lost—all inside the walls of the
theater. I’ve lit plays, dramas, comedies, dance, musicals and opera. I’ve seen
and been a part of things that are more beautiful, moving, and connecting than
I could’ve imagined.
Silent Sky, Pygmalion
performances I saw and the backstage tours I was occasionally treated to would
never have come to me without ZAP; what it provides to students across the
state is invaluable. I meet students everyday who look like me. They come from where
I came from and worse. They deserve a chance to see and learn and be moved by
the amazing work being done by arts groups all across Utah. We owe it to them
and to ourselves to keep doing the right thing: teaching each other and telling
our stories to each other. It makes us all better and gives so many people the
greatest gift of all: hope and the space to dream.
Currently the Production
Stage Manager and Lighting Director for Repertory Dance Theatre, Pilar
graduated from the University of Utah in 2003 and has worked the last 20 years
across the Wasatch Front in virtually every venue and arts organization.
Journeyman Member IATSE-Local 99