Ballet & Dance
As artistic expression goes, dance is perhaps the most physical, often requiring the flexibility of a contortionist combined with the strength of a linebacker. There are moves to learn, too, from ballet’s basic plie to jazzy tap steps, dramatic leaps and dizzying twirls. Then there’s contemporary dance, which tosses aside those established patterns and gives dancers the freedom—and power--to use their bodies as expressive devices. It’s no movement free-for-all: dancers work hard to master a fusion of elements, specific methods and techniques that enhance non-verbal communication through movement while decreasing the chance of injury.
In Columbia, dance companies provide a full range of performance experiences. Each fall, the city’s three ballet companies, the Columbia City Ballet, the Columbia Classical Ballet and Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet kick off exciting seasons that mix classic works like Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker with modern ballets like Columbia City Ballet’s Dracula: Ballet with a Bite. Choreographed by CCB’s Artistic Director William Starrett, the original ballet made its premier on the stage of Columbia’s Koger Center for the Arts and has been performed all over the US. The Columbia Classical Ballet, which spices up its season each year with gutsy performances of avant-garde works.
Teeming with gifted performers, choreographers and technicians, The University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance organizes many performances throughout the year highlighting both contemporary dance and ballet. There are also student choreography showcases, dance professor performances and open workshops. Look for special performances as well, including troupes like The Power Company Collaborative at Columbia College and Performance Incubator dance programs at Harbison Theater at Midlands Technical College.