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Tuning Up: Music festival + dance opportunity news

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...
Here's some good arts news to report. We're all for that, right? Hooray, consensus!

Transitional experience for hopeful professional dancers

Auditions are coming for Carolina Ballet Theatre's new pre-professional dance program. (CBT is located in Greenville.) The program’s purpose is to provide a transitional experience for dancers moving from an academic ballet setting to the world of professional dance. In addition, the pre-professional’s artistic talent enhances the professional company roster. The curriculum emphasizes the development of professional practice, self-evaluation, reflection, career readiness, and goal-setting for the emerging dance artist.  Development of artistic skill and technique is introduced simultaneously with participation in live concert dance.  The performance season consists of Peace Center shows, Black Box shows and community outreach engagements. If you are or know a dancer between 16 and 20, auditions are Saturday, Aug. 13. The day consists of a 90-minute class, a 30-minute breather, and then an hour for auditions.

Music festival coming back to Columbia

From ColaDaily.com:

For the first time since 2019, the Jam Room Music Festival is returning to Columbia's Main Street.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Titus Andronicus are the headliners for the event, set for October 1 with one stage on Main Street and another on Hampton Street in front of the Columbia Museum of Art.

Read the rest of Allen Wallace's coverage, with the full lineup, here.  

Jason Rapp

Grand Jeté returns with opportunities for S.C. dancers, dance teachers

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, February 1, 2022


Dance students from across the state will gather together to connect, compete, and cultivate their skills during the third annual Grand Jeté Student Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition.

The now week-long event offers master classes led by guest artists, audition and recruitment events with national dance programs and teacher workshops for private studio and public school dance teachers. “This is not just a competition,” said Josée Garant, Grand Jeté director. “This is an opportunity for the dance community to come together, learn together and showcase the exceptional talent our state has to offer. Dance is such a competitive field, which is why we feel it is so important to host an event where dancers can get to know each other, support each other and consider their future in dance at the collegiate level.” Dance students, ages 10-19, who choose to compete have the chance to win prizes, totaling $5,250, in the categories of classical ballet, modern/contemporary and student choreography. They will also gain valuable feedback from the competition’s esteemed, out-of-state, adjudicators—Jorden Morris, Akua Noni Parker and Sarah Wroth. Morris is a retired principal dancer, choreographer and the current guest artistic director of the Orlando Ballet. Parker has performed as a leading company member with prestigious dance companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Cincinnati Ballet and Ballet San Jose. Wroth is an associate professor of music in ballet and the chair of the ballet department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Competitors and noncompetitors can attend virtual information sessions and in-person audition classes with university and trainee dance program recruiters from Dean College, New World School of the Arts, Ohio State University, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Texas Christian University, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of Oklahoma, University of South Florida, University of Utah and others. They can also participate in in-person master classes in ballet and modern/contemporary. “Grand Jeté is the only event in South Carolina where high school juniors and seniors can share their talents with so many recruiters in one place,” Garant said. “This is an amazing opportunity for students seeking a summer intensive or university dance program with the potential to earn scholarships.” South Carolina dance instructors can also participate in Grand Jeté which offers in-person teacher workshops. Classes in beginner ballet, intermediate/advanced contemporary and intermediate/advanced ballet will be held for private studio teachers. K-12 public school teachers can register for workshops in historical dance, world dance, ballet fundamentals and modern/contemporary free of charge. Grand Jeté will be held March 1-6, 2022 with the competition occurring on March 6. Participants can choose to only attend their preferred events and are not required to attend for the full week. In-person events will be held on the Governor’s School’s campus in downtown Greenville. Interested individuals can register online at scgsah.org/grand-jete until February 1, 2022. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Foundation at 864.282.1570 for more details.

Submitted material

Technical director sought by Columbia City Ballet

Immediate hire for looming season

Columbia City Ballet is seeking a technical director for the 2021/2022 performance season.

From the company: The ideal candidate will be proficient in all theatrical technical elements including scenic, carpentry, sound, lighting and projections, and stage management. A creative problem solver with at least 3 years of professional experience and capable of quickly troubleshooting technical theater elements and possessing exemplary organizational and communication skills.
  • This key position reports directly to the executive & artistic director and has responsibility for all technical needs and requirements including music, lighting, and scenic elements.
  • Coordinates technical requirements in all performance venues.
  • Supervises load-ins, strikes, and technical rehearsals.
  • Prepares and delivers all lighting, fly rail, and other designs in a timely manner.
  • Coordinates truck rental and other transportation needs.
  • Maintains, stores, repairs, transports, and controls inventory of all artistic collateral including but not limited to sets, scenery, and props.
  • Provides technical support for all public, community and promotional events including performances, technical rehearsals, galas, public appearances, demonstrations, and other events.
  • Works closely with the finance director on all purchasing, sourcing, budgetary, and expense related tasks.
  • Coordinates crew assignments with all performance venues and coordinates all tour logistics for sets, scenery, and technical crew members. Manages technical crew members and provides accurate payroll information to the office of the finance director. Reviews and provides technical guidance for tour and venue contracts.
  • Manages all rentals of sets, scenery, props, and costumes from our extensive collections including negotiating and executing rental agreements.
A bachelor's degree or acceptable combination of education and professional experience is required. Salary is negotiable, commensurate with experience. Qualified applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and professional references to:
Image by bigter choi from Pixabay

Jason Rapp

Catch American Ballet Theatre in Charleston

ABT Across America on July 17

Presented by the Charleston Gaillard Center

American Ballet Theatre will take to the road this summer, traveling by bus and truck to just eight U.S. cities—including Charleston.

The Charleston Gaillard Center will present ABT Across America for an outdoor performance at The Citadel’s parade ground, Summerall Field. The show will be performed without an intermission. Repertory for ABT Across America will feature Lauren Lovette’s La Follia Variations, a work for eight dancers set to music by Francesco Geminiani, Jessica Lang’s Let Me Sing Forevermore, a pas deux blending ballet and jazz vocabulary set to songs sung by Tony Bennett, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Indestructible Light, a celebration of American jazz music, and a classical pas de deux from ABT’s extensive repertoire. Support for this program is made possible by generous donors who have committed time and resources to the Charleston Gaillard Center’s Dance Initiative.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: From ABT to ACSD + ArtFields volunteers sought

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...

This is not your average news item. We confess to doing a double-take upon reading the Charlotte Observer headline "Former world-class ballet dancer now a South Carolina deputy." We're so glad we did, because the non-traditional path one of Abbeville County Sheriff's Department's finest took to the force is worth our attention and yours. (Subscription might be required.) Pee Dee friends! Volunteer at ArtFields! Your smiling face can be put to great use in Lake City this April... lead student tours, staff venues, direct traffic, or serve one one of the other awaiting opportunities. A Volunteer Kick-Off Dinner is coming March 5, so click here to get more info and to register for your ArtFields volunteering. Midlands friends! "Canvass of the People" in Columbia tomorrow! 

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.

Submitted material

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.


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.