The USC Department of Theatre and Dance will present a thrilling mix of classical ballet and innovative contemporary dance in the USC Dance Company Fall Concert, November 9-10 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 at kogercenterforthearts.com or by phone at 803-251-2222. The Koger Center is located at 1051 Greene St.
Repertory for the concert includes Jennifer Deckert’s re-imagined staging of the classic Michel Fokine ballet, Les Sylphides, plus works by three notable guest artists: Lost, Found, Lost by Janis Brenner (Janis Brenner and Dancers, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble); Excerpts from “The Legend of the Hatfields and McCoys” by Peter Powlus (Augusta Ballet); and hīv by Christian von Howard (VON HOWARD PROJECT).
Set to the music of Frédéric Chopin, Les Sylphides has no specific plot, but paints a moving portrait of a poet engaging with his muses, the sylphs. USC Dance associate professor Jennifer Deckert has staged the work with an all-female ensemble, creating a new take on the role of the poet.
“I’ve reconstructed the main pas de deux, which is typically done between the male poet and one of the sylphs, as a quartet,” Deckert explains. “Instead of feeling like the poet is lured by the sylph, in this iteration it feels like the poet is visiting and dreaming with her friends.”
Janis Brenner’s Lost, Found, Lost presents another sort of re-envisioning, as it fuses the boundaries between dance, theatre, and music. Brenner is an internationally-renowned dancer/choreographer/singer/teacher and is Artistic Director of Janis Brenner & Dancers in N.Y. She performed with the groundbreaking Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble from 1990-2005.
The work explores both humorous and poignant aspects of human connection to things, to ourselves, and to each other. Brenner explains, “The things [lost] can be anything from mundane objects, like ‘I’ve lost my keys’ or ‘I’ve lost my glasses,’ to ‘I’ve lost my mind’ or ‘I’ve lost my father.’ It has a sort of comedy-tragedy context to it, which is something I play with a lot – to start light and inviting…and then eventually give the heartstrings a pull. It is a metaphor for a community…lifting each other up through loss, which is relevant now and at all times.
Peter Powlus’ The Legend of the Hatfields and McCoys, originally created for Augusta Ballet (for whom he was Resident Choreographer), sets the infamous family feud – and the tumultuous love triangle tangled up at its center – to a bluegrass music score by revered musician Sam Bush.
Senior dance instructor Olivia Waldrop, rehearsal director for the work, says it evokes the dramatic tension of Romeo and Juliet while pushing the boundaries of balletic choreography. “An interesting and exciting part of working with Peter is he brings so many different genres of movement to his work,” she says, “and much of the movement in this work has kind of a folk-dance energy to it.”
“Peter has a really wonderful way with storytelling,” she adds. “His choreography is very narrative driven and, ultimately, is all about human connection.”
New York choreographer Christian von Howard is staging his new contemporary ballet hīv, which is described as a work exploring the complexities of an active community. In collaboration with the performing artists, von Howard investigates ideas surrounding gestalt intelligences, looking at physical patterns and simple identity shifts based on the needs of the hive.
von Howard’s choreography has been produced globally and throughout the US. In addition to serving as Artistic Director of the VON HOWARD PROJECT, he is a veteran teacher at the Alvin Ailey School in NYC and is Associate Professor of Dance at Montclair State University.
“I think the audience is going to experience a full spectrum of what concert dance, and its emotional capacity, can be,” Deckert says. “Our dancers, as well, are getting experiences that are very unique and challenging to their perceptions of what dance and performance look like.”
For more information on the USC 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.