What’s New in Dance? Six Questions for CCB Artistic Director William Starrett

dance_WilliamStarrett1. Columbia City Ballet has a show called Body and Movement Explored opening this Friday night at the Columbia Music Festival Association – how is this performance a departure from your regular season of dance?

It follows a mixed repertoire format with many different ballets within one evening, with many different choreographers. It is not a full length performance following one story line with one single choreographer.

2. You’ve done this show in the past, correct? Should we expect some of the same dances, new dances, or a mix?

There are 9 brand new ballets. No ballets are being repeated.

3. Whose choreography will we be seeing?

William Starrett; Jenny Broe (Owner of StudioFX in Charleston); Rachel Leonard (Choreographer from Florida); Choreography from CCB Dancers Philip Ingrassia, Ashley Concannon, Denis Vezetiu, Wayland Anderson, Amanda Summey, and Kevin James – a dancer with the Smuin Ballet in San Francisco

4. Tell us about two or three dances that you’re most excited about.

I love Jenny Broe’s new ballet, Wicked Games. She is a choreographer from Charleston and the Director of Dance FX. I love the way she explored relationships within her movement. I also like Rachel Leonard’s new ballet, Garcons et des Filles des Banco. She directs the Surfscape Contemporary Dance Theatre in Florida. She did a very fun and lighthearted ballet that is very different and sexy. What is really fun is to see the tremendous versatility of our company dancers and the passion with which they approach the movements.

5. It seems that all the major dance companies have come to include contemporary ballet as a staple part of their seasons alongside the classic narrative ballets. Why is contemporary ballet such an important part of the growth of a healthy ballet company?

Keeping the art form current and relevant and vibrant is a big part of keeping the company popular and healthy, both with how it serves the community artistically and as a valid economic engine.

6. Will you be taking contemporary ballet and mixed repertoire to the main stage soon?

We are using our Body and Movement Explored series to educate and build a substantial audience base that can sustain the extreme costs surrounding our main stage productions. Time will tell.

Body & Movement Explored starts at 7:30 on Friday and Saturday nights, February 20th & 21st at CMFA, 914 Pulaski Street. Tickets are $25 in advance via www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1228788 or $30 at the door.

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