The University of South Carolina dance program will perform a dynamic repertory of classic and contemporary dance in the UofSC Dance Company Fall Concert, October 20-21 at the Koger Center for the Arts.
Show time for the concert is 7:30pm nightly. Admission is $15 for students, $20 for UofSC faculty/staff, military, and seniors 60+, and $22 for the public. Tickets may be purchased online or by phone at 803-251-2222. The Koger Center is located at 1051 Greene St.
Featured on the concert are a reconstruction of the dazzling grand pas from the classical ballet Paquita by Associate Professor Jennifer Deckert, premiere contemporary ballets Encercler by Instructor Eduard Forehand and Courtly by Instructor Olivia Waldrop, and Warm Hearts, Hot Feet, an original contemporary work by Assistant Professor André Megerdichian.
First staged in 1846, the full-length Paquita ballet tells the story of a young Romani girl in Spain who discovers that she is actually of noble birth. The third act of the ballet, first staged on its own as the Grand Pas Classique by Marius Petipa in 1881, is a rousing divertissement featuring a vibrant ensemble, sparkling solo variations, and a beautiful duet.
For Deckert, the ballet is satisfying on two fronts. On one hand, it’s a foundational work in the classical ballet canon. On the other, it’s the rare ballet that allows for dancers’ individual personalities to shine.
“I think one reason I love this ballet so much is that while it does fall into the classical form, there’s less rigidity, and the joyful nature of the movement allows for the dancers’ individual personalities to come out,” Deckert says.
“Part of our dancers’ journeys as university students is to find their own voice as performers,” she adds. “I always strive to give them classical experiences that also allow for personal expression in their performances.”
Forehand is a new addition to the UofSC dance faculty who danced with professional ballet companies such as Charleston Ballet Theatre and Louisville Ballet over an 18-year career. His original work Encercler, he says, is an energetic contemporary pointe work investigating movement within circular patterns.
“Circles are never-ending,” he explains. “It reflects the rehearsal process and how we can always go back and change things. [The work] is never quite finished and just keeps going around.”
Utilizing a cast of four, Waldrop’s Courtly is an exploration that fuses contemporary ballet and elements of social dance.
“I haven’t created many duets with our dancers in the past and I wanted to explore that,” says Waldrop. “While there isn’t a distinct narrative, we’re working on creating relationships so that the audience feels the connection in each movement of the work.”
Megerdichian says Warm Hearts, Hot Feet, first performed on the UofSC stage in 2019, is a revamped iteration of his effervescent, standards-infused work that pays homage to some of the great 20th Century American dance innovators. As described in 2019, “I had this idea of José Limón, Martha Graham, Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly and Gwen Verdon sitting in a bar, listening to music and sharing their stories. Warm Hearts, Hot Feet belongs to them in some way, reveling in great music and winking their eyes at us.”
“Our students are delivering on all fronts,” Megerdichian says about the entire concert. “The diversity of technique and personal idioms they’re able to embody will make this a performance that has something for everyone to enjoy.”
For more information on the UofSC Dance Company Fall Concert or the dance program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.