University of South Carolina

From the barre to the streets

Jason Ayer’s Palmetto Pointe Project puts dancers amid Columbia’s landmarks

By Rebecca Krumel,

USC’s Jason Ayer has been photographing dancers since his high school years. But lately, Ayer, a media resource specialist in distance education at the university, has been bringing dance to the streets.

In 2010, Ayer began the Palmetto Pointe Project, a freelance project which focuses its lens on Columbia and USC dancers, capturing their creative outlet against the backdrop of Columbia.

Ayer’s project resembles New York City’s “Ballerina Project,” documenting traditional dance in nontraditional locales such as subways, windows and street corners. However, Ayer says his project is not intended to mimic New York’s project that illustrates urban cityscapes with dancers as part of the backdrop.  

Ayer focuses on showcasing the dancers as individuals amid a setting that draws out their personality or contrasts it. He doesn’t want to downplay the role of the dancers, many of whom perform with the USC Dance Company or the USC Dance Conservatory.

“I may be the eye of this particular storm, but they are the wind and rain and thunder and lightning, and without them this project is not much of anything,” he says.

"I love that the Palmetto Pointe Project takes the art of dance outside the studio, away from the barres and mirrors and the stage, and extends that to familiar surroundings in the Columbia area. The spaces I've been photographed in are all beautiful places -- sometimes nooks and crannies, sometimes recognizable Columbia landmarks -- and the approach is to think about how I can utilize that space and enhance it, not detract from its natural beauty." – Kathryn Miles, USC political science student

"The Palmetto Pointe Project has transformed the way I look at Columbia. I find myself paying more attention to the architecture of the city and in nature. Most of the places I have been photographed are places I often overlooked or didn't know about at all, so now I have a much broader idea of what Columbia is. In each shoot I found something interesting and unique about that location and tried to use my positioning to accentuate that. I think one of the most beautiful things about this project is the ability to simultaneously uproot ballet from the studio and draw attention to this great city that we live in." -- Katie Callahan, USC dance student 

Rebecca Krumel, ’11, works part-time for the USC Dance Program. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in dance and English, she stayed on with the dance program to help with accreditation, coordinating the SC Festival of Dance and working for the SC Summer Dance Conservatory. 

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 01/11/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 01/11/13 @ 12:02 PM | Permalink