The University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance will present the USC Dance Company in concert, November 8-9 at the Koger Center for the Arts.
The concert repertory includes the seminal George Balanchine ballet Serenade, as well as Short Stories by dance Associate Professor Thaddeus Davis, and Solicitude, a premiere work choreographed by ballet instructor Olivia Waldrop with creative input from her dancers.
Serenade holds a revered place in dance history as the first ballet created by George Balanchine in America. Described by The Wall Street Journal as “the Rosetta Stone for a new kind of dancer, the American classical dancer,” Serenade was directly inspired by the first rehearsals at his newly created School of American Ballet. The legendary choreographer even incorporated unexpected rehearsal events, such as one student’s fall and another’s lateness, into the choreography. The work was first performed in 1935.
Serenade is being staged by senior instructor Stacey Calvert, who has extensive personal experience with the Balanchine canon. Before coming to the University, Calvert had a seventeen-year career as a soloist for the Balanchine-founded New York City Ballet.
“I think audiences had only seen dance in tutus with very structured arms up to that point,” says Calvert. “With Serenade, Balanchine created a lot of interesting movement that would not have been done in a classical ballet. It’s classical technique, but it’s modified in a way that has a more lyrical quality to it.”
Thaddeus Davis’ Short Stories, originally created in 2008 for Portland, Oregon’s NW Dance Project, weaves together a series of movement vignettes, each portraying a different relationship narrative.
The piece marks one of the first times the choreographer has restaged one of his past works at the University. Most of Davis’ works here have been created and refined in the studio with his students. “This is a different task,” says Davis. “The dancers have to come to the work and get inside of the shapes and ideas.”
Dancers were a significant part of the creative process for Olivia Waldrop’s Solicitude, which she describes as “an opportunity…to explore the different kinds of relationships that exist in a community.”
“Like in most of my works, I co-create movement with the dancers,” says Waldrop. “I give them tasks and themes, and they create a string of steps. From there I help them edit, cut and paste different phrases together.”
“I wanted the dancers to focus first on what it means to be human and then a dancer -- how would you move if you were grieving, not what would you self-choreograph as a dancer. I wanted our work to feel real and relatable, while simultaneously hopeful.”
Show time for the concert is 7:30 pm nightly. Tickets are $15 for students, $20 for USC Faculty/Staff, Military and Seniors, and $22 for the general public, and can be purchased online or by phone at 803-777-5112. The Koger Center is located at 1051 Greene St.
For more information about the USC Dance Company Fall Concert or the dance program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 803-777-9353.