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Fulbright grant sending Furman musicologist to Russia

Laura Kennedy, Furman University associate professor of musicology, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to conduct research in Russia during the 2019/2020 academic year. For her research project, “Ballet in a Waning Empire: Shostakovich, Lopukhov, and the Search for Soviet Dance,” Kennedy will work in music and dance archives in St. Petersburg and Moscow. She will research costumes, set designs, choreographic notes, musical scores, photographs and other materials from early Soviet ballet productions written in Leningrad in the 1920s and 1930s, a formative period of experimentation in the Russian arts. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright honor represents a national competition across the humanities, arts, sciences and education. Grantees undergo a rigorous peer-review process, in which proposals are evaluated in both the U.S. and destination countries and are finally selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. “I’m thrilled with the opportunity of this Fulbright and with the chance to pursue new research on Russian ballet. My goal is to author the first book ever written on the ballets of Dmitri Shostakovich: The Golden Age, The Bolt, and The Limpid Stream,” said Kennedy. “These early ballets set the direction of Soviet dance, ensuring ballet’s place as a central expression of Soviet cultural achievement and diplomacy in the 20th century.”


This latest Fulbright award marks Kennedy’s second grant to study in Russia. Her first Fulbright was awarded to conduct research in 2006/2007 on Shostakovich when she was a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan. “The Fulbright Scholar award combines my expertise in Shostakovich’s music and manuscripts with my work on dance,” said Kennedy. “I’m grateful to the Department of Music, the Research & Professional Growth Committee, and the Humanities Development Fund at Furman for generously supporting the opportunities that have shaped my scholarship in music and dance. And I’m equally grateful to the Fulbright program for the unique experiences it has afforded me as a scholar,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy joined the Furman faculty in 2012. She coordinates the music history curriculum and teaches courses on music and dance history. With Patricia Sasser, director of Furman’s Maxwell Music Library, she also co-directs the department’s study away course to Paris and London: “Rites of Spring: Paris, the Ballets Russes, & the Arts of Modernism.” Her work has been published in Fontes Artis Musicae, Notes: The Journal of the Music Library Association, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, and Information Literacy in Music (A-R Editions). She holds a bachelor’s in music from Wheaton College and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Michigan. For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Relations office at 864.294.3107.

New Governor’s School event to cultivate S.C.’s young dancers

Master classes, cash prizes part of student ballet competition

Ballet students ages 10-19 are invited to participate in master classes and compete for cash prizes in the inaugural "Grand Jeté" student dance competition, hosted by the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. The competition will be held at the Governor’s School in Greenville on March 2, 2019, and students can now register online to participate at www.scgsah.org/grand-jete. The deadline to register is Friday, Feb. 1. “We are thrilled to offer an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge South Carolina’s young dancers, and we want to applaud them for their hard work as they pursue and study this beautiful, yet demanding, art form,” said Josée Garant, Governor’s School Dance Department chair. “Grand Jeté is a venue for dance students from across the state to get to know each other and share their common passion for dance. It is a venue where, in its competitive environment, they can take the stage, support each other, learn and grow, while receiving feedback from out-of-state, internationally-recognized dance professionals.” Approximately 60 students will have the opportunity to attend master classes taught by S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities’ dance faculty and compete, by division, for the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling $7,500. They may also qualify for scholarships and opportunities such as summer dance intensives and college dance programs. Grand Jeté will be adjudicated by out-of-state, world-renowned dance professionals Lorna Feijóo, Francie Huber, and Olivier Pardina. For more information about Grand Jeté and to register, visit www.scgsah.org/grand-jete. The registration deadline is February 1, 2019. However, registration may close early if the maximum number of 60 solos is reached prior to this date. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact the S.C Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Foundation at 864.282.1570 for more details.

About SCGSAH

Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. As a public, residential high school, serving juniors and seniors, students refine their talents in a master-apprentice community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students, and SCGSAH serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools. SCGSAH.org
All photos provided.

Tuning Up: Nutcracker season returns

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Welcome to Nutcracker season. When you think of the holidays through the lens of the performing arts, two things immediately cross your mind: Handel's Messiah (perhaps with audience participation), and... The Nutcracker. Some have come and gone, but the "granddaddy of them all" in South Carolina (if The Rose Bowl Game™ will pardon our use of the parlance...) is the one staged by SCAC General Operating Support (GOS) grantees Columbia City Ballet and Executive Director William Starrett. This year, the production winds its way through central and eastern South Carolina and even took a dip into Savannah, Ga. on Thanksgiving weekend. It begins a two-weekend run in Columbia this Friday night. From the story:

"Diversity has played a major role in the 2018 performance, from the dancers to the costumes and production design. 'There’s all different kinds of snowflakes and flowers and different kinds of human beings,' said Starrett. The creative minds at Columbia City Ballet crafted the performance to represent the diversity of modern life."

The Hub can get behind that. Read more: Excitement builds as Columbia City Ballet’s The Nutcracker premieres this weekend (ColaDaily.com)

‘Toning down’ stereotypes in ballet

A story appeared yesterday in The New York Times about New York City Ballet modifying its production of Balanchine's The Nutcracker to do away with "yellowface" – stereotypical portrayals of Asian people. [caption id="attachment_23732" align="alignright" width="200"] Columbia Classical Ballet's presentation of "The Nutcracker" in 2015. (Provided photo)[/caption]

Last year, New York City Ballet modified the choreography, costumes and makeup. And, just last month, the Balanchine Trust, which owns the rights to Balanchine’s work, notified other ballet companies that the changes were an approved option, though not required.

With Nutcracker season upon us (several open on Thanksgiving weekend and the rate accelerates into December), The Hub thought it was an interesting topic to share with our readers, especially in light of the controversial comments made by Megyn Kelly before her departure from NBC last month.

These adjustments are part of a broader effort to re-examine how people of color are portrayed in the performing arts and how classics with potentially troubling aspects can be made acceptable to modern audiences. In 2015, the Metropolitan Opera eliminated blackface from its “Otello.” The Bolshoi has toned down a segment of its “La Bayadère” featuring white children in blackface, but it has been criticized for not going far enough. And more recent fare has also been revised: The musical “Cats” dropped a song in which characters sang in Asian accents.

You can read the full story here. These are hot-button topics everywhere, but it is certainly relevant to the S.C. Arts Commission, where our legislative charge is "to create a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their place or circumstance. Diversity, inclusion, and access are critical components of that charge.

SC native Sara Mearns among nominees for ‘ballet’s Oscars’ announced in Moscow

Sara MearnsColumbia, S.C. native Sara Mearns, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, is one of six ballerinas nominated for the Benois de la Danse international ballet awards, considered the Oscars of ballet. The list includes eight choreographers, six female dancers, six male dancers and two scenographers, all of whom represent the world's leading ballet companies. The awards, which honor dance works created during the past year, will be awarded May 17. Mearns returns to Columbia frequently to teach young dancers and perform. She will appear in the 11th Annual Ballet Stars of New York Gala, taking place Friday, April 15 at the Koger Center for the Arts. From Russia Beyond the Headlines

The nominees for the 24th edition of the Benois de la Danse international ballet awards were announced on April 7 at a press conference at the Bolshoi Theater. The list includes eight choreographers, six dancers, six dancers and two scenographers, all of whom represent the world's leading ballet companies. The prestigious prize, which is unparalleled in international practice, honors dance works created during the past year. For the first time in the history of the Benois de la Danse awards, a record number of choreographers – eight – were nominated. They include Mauro Bigonzetti (Cinderella, La Scala Ballet), Zhang Yunfeng (Emperor Yu Li, Beijing Dance Academy), Benjamin Millepied (Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward, Paris Opera Ballet), Justin Peck (Rõde,õ: Four Dance Episodes, New York City Ballet), Alexander Ekman (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Royal Swedish Ballet) and Johan Inger, who was nominated for the prize for two performances – Carmen (Compañia Nacional de Danza) and One on One (Netherland Dance Theater). Also nominated were two Russian choreographers – Yuri Possokhov (Hero of Our Time, Bolshoi Ballet) and Maxim Petrov (Le Divertissement du Roi, Mariinsky Ballet). Six ballerinas were nominated for the Best Female Dancer award. One of them – Oksana Skorik – represents the Mariinsky Ballet. Her rivals will be Alicia Amatriyen (Stuttgart State Ballet), Rebecca Bianchi (Rome Opera Ballet), Sara Mearns (New York City Ballet), Gina Tse (Swedish Royal Ballet) and Hannah O'Neyl (Paris Opera Ballet). The nominees for the Best Male Dancer award are Dmitry Zagrebin (formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet, now a soloist of the Royal Swedish Ballet),  three soloists from the Paris Opera Ballet – Kim Kimin, Hugo Marchand and Josua Hoffalt, as well as Amar Ramazar (New York City Ballet) and Alessandro Riga, who represents the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. The Scenographers category features two candidates: Jean-Marc Pyuissan, who was nominated for the prize for designing performances by the Dutch National Ballet and the Royal Opera House, and Ren Dongsheng (Beijing Dance Academy). A special Russian-Italian ballet prize, which last year united the Benois de la Danse and the Premio Positano Leonide Massine Award, will be awarded this time to the Bolshoi Ballet's prima ballerina Ekaterina Krysanova. The special prize for High Artistry in Partnership was awarded to the Hamburg Ballet's prime dancer Alexander Ryabko. This year's jury includes the Paris Opera Ballet's star dancer Marie-Agnès Gilot, the artistic director of Compania Nacional de Danza (Spain), Jose Carlos Martinez Garcia, the artistic director of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Johannes Öhman, a choreographer and professor of the Beijing Dance Academy, Xiao Suhua, as well as Italian ballet star Elisabetta Terabyust, the Mariinsky Ballet's acting director Yury Fateyev and the New York-based Joyce Theater director Linda Shelton. The award ceremony will be held at the Bolshoi's Historic Stage on May 17. First published in Russian in TASS.
 

“The Nutcracker” Takes South Carolina Stages This Holiday Season

"The Nutcracker" ballet is a holiday tradition for many families around the world. South Carolina arts groups are producing opportunities for experiencing this classic story in all parts of the state. Ballet Spartanburg, December 11-13 at Converse College in Spartanburg Carolina Ballet Theatre, December 4-6 at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville Charleston Ballet Theatre Center for Dance Education, December 11-13 at the Sottile Theatre in Charleston Coastal Youth Ballet Theatre, December 12-13 & 19-20 at Coastal Carolina University in Conway Columbia City Ballet, December 12-13 & 19-20 at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia Columbia Classical Ballet, December 4-6 at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia Foothills Conservatory for the Performing Arts, December 12-13 at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts in Clemson Greenville Ballet, December 19 at Furman University in Greenville International Ballet, December 12-13 at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville Orangeburg Civic Ballet, December 12-13 at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg York County Ballet, December 17-20 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill

Performing arts presenters invited to apply for South Arts’ Dance Touring Initiative

Nonprofit performing arts presenters across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee are encouraged to visit the Dance Touring Initiative area of South Arts’ website for information about applying to be part of the upcoming third cohort to receive training and support in presenting modern dance. The application deadline is Jan. 23, 2015. Through DTI, two cohorts totaling 20 performing arts presenters in eight Southern states have received training and support in all aspects of presenting modern dance. Participants in the two cohorts have traveled to dance festivals including Jacob’s Pillow and American Dance Festival, worked with specialists to gain deeper understanding of the wide artistic range of the art forms, and received subsidies to engage leading companies for performances and residencies. The initiative, launched in 2009, is building a broad and deep network of performing arts presenters throughout the South that can bring modern dance and contemporary ballet companies as part of their season for public performances and artist residencies.Two South Carolina organizations, Ballet Spartanburg and Coker College Department of Dance in Hartsville, were chosen as participants for the initial cohort in 2009. Image: Koresh Dance Company, one of three companies providing multi-day residencies for cohort participants during the 2014-2015 season. About South Arts South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. For more information, visit www.southarts.org. Via: South Arts

South Carolina’s Brooklyn Mack breaks racial barrier

From The Free Times: Image: From the Washington Post - Brooklyn Mack in Giselle

South Carolina’s dance sensation Brooklyn Mack, who got his start with the Columbia Classical Ballet, is partnering with famous American Ballet Theatre ballerina Misty Copeland in the Washington Ballet’s first production of Swan Lake, The Washington Post reported. The Post called Copeland's appearance with the Washington Ballet "a coup of historic proportions." Mack and Copeland have the leading roles as principal dancers in the story. Both Mack and Copeland are stars in the ballet world, known for their strong and bold charisma on stage, and both are African-American. Putting two African-American lead roles in a typically “white” production like Swan Lake represents the breaking down of barriers on the stage. This will be the first full-length production of Swan Lake in the Washington Ballet’s 70- year history. Click here for the full Washington Post article.

South Arts receives $450,000 grant to build modern dance and contemporary ballet audiences

ATLANTA – South Arts has received a grant of $450,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its Dance Touring Initiative (DTI) through 2018. The initiative, launched in 2009, is building a broad and deep network of performing arts presenters throughout the South that can bring modern dance and contemporary ballet companies as part of their season for public performances and artist residencies. “Our data showed that access to modern dance and contemporary ballet was declining throughout the South, especially outside our most major metropolitan areas,” explained Nikki Estes, South Arts’ program director for DTI. “We developed this initiative to engage new audiences and stakeholders across the region with these important artforms.” Through DTI, two cohorts totaling 20 performing arts presenters in eight Southern states have been selected to receive training and support in all aspects of presenting modern dance. Participants in the two cohorts have travelled to dance festivals including Jacob’s Pillow and American Dance Festival, worked with specialists to gain deeper understanding of the wide artistic range of the artforms, and received subsidies to engage leading companies for performances and residencies. Together, the presenters have worked with companies such as David Dorfman Dance, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, River North Dance Chicago, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre, engaging over 33,000 people throughout the region with contemporary ballet and modern dance. A third cohort of up to 10 presenters will be selected in 2015. Two South Carolina organizations, Ballet Spartanburg and Coker College Department of Dance in Hartsville, were chosen as participants for the initial cohort in 2009. “We are extremely grateful for this major support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” said Suzette M. Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “Their support allows us to ensure that DTI creates long-lasting and impactful changes throughout the region as we foster a network of colleagues with the experience and knowledge to develop new audiences." Nonprofit performing arts presenters across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee are encouraged to visit the Dance Touring Initiative area of South Arts’ website for information about applying to be part of the upcoming third cohort. The application deadline is Jan. 23, 2015. Image: Koresh Dance Company, one of three companies providing multi-day residencies for cohort participants during the 2014-2015 season. About South Arts South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization, was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. For more information, visit www.southarts.org. Via: South Arts

New dancers and local favorite featured in Columbia Classical Ballet’s LifeChance

The Columbia Classical Ballet’s annual LifeChance gala performance is always a high point of the dance season, featuring guest artists with top companies from around the nation and company dancers performing classical and contemporary works. LifeChance takes place Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center. This year, for the first time, the Classical Ballet welcomes guest dancers from the Joffrey Ballet,  including Dylan Gutierrez, just named “25 to Watch in 2014” by Dance Magazine and Jeraldine Mendoza, the first American woman to graduate with honors from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Another first-time guest will be Boston Ballet principal dancer Lasha Khozashvili. Returning favorites include Brooklyn Mack of the Washington Ballet, a Columbia native who got his start with the Classical Ballet. At age 12, Mack attended a LifeChance performance and shortly after began studying with Classical Ballet director Radenko Pavlovich. Mack has won silver medals at the Jackson International Ballet Competition, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and the Korean International Dance Competition, and a gold medal at the 2012 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Other favorites returning include Boston Ballet principal dancers and brother and sister Jeffrey and Lia Cirio, and Washington Ballet dancers Tamas Krizsa and Maki Onuk. The company dancers will perform two new works created especially for them, and guest artists and company members will dance together. On the new side, Classical Ballet choreographer Simone Cuttino has created Ursa Major for 14 of the company’s male dancers set to a driving, percussive score that will be premiered at LifeChance. Tickets, $6 to $33, are available online at www.capitoltickets.com or by calling (803) 251-2222. The evening also raises money for a local nonprofit. For more information visit the Columbia Classical Ballet's website. Via: Columbia Classical Ballet