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Brand shakeup announced by Columbia City Ballet

Penchant for 'bigger, brighter, and better' drives change

For 62 years it was known as Columbia City Ballet, an anchor of the eponymous capital city's arts scene.

Going forward, you can call it South Carolina Ballet. In a statement, the ballet says the change "underlines its ongoing dedication to making ballet accessible to all while showcasing the state’s cultural vibrancy throughout South Carolina and the national stage through its extensive touring calendar." Columbia residents need not fear, according to the ballet, which promises Columbia will remain as the company's heart as they promote its hometown's role as a thriving center for the arts. A similar change occurred decades ago when the Columbia Philharmonic rebranded as the South Carolina Philharmonic, now recognized as an orchestral leader in the state. "As South Carolina Ballet, our commitment to accessibility remains unwavering," CEO and Artistic Director William Starrett said. "Many of you know my penchant for things that are bigger, brighter, and better. After 62 years and tremendous popularity throughout South Carolina and the nation, our name has to evolve with the increasing demand for our services. Our expansion has been in no small part due to the enthusiasm of our Columbia audiences, who have actively participated in our growth." "Although our name has changed, our core values endure, and we will continue our mission of enriching lives through the art of dance. Our non-profit status underscores our dedication to providing diverse audiences with opportunities to experience the beauty and joy of dance through our performances and educational outreach programs." Starrett was a recipient of the South Carolina Governor's Award for the Arts in 2002 and was featured earlier this year in the SCAC's retrospective celebrating 50 years of the award on South Carolina ETV. South Carolina Ballet is a long-time recipient of SCAC grants, including its signature General Operating Support grant. Updates to the ballet company's website and social media channels to reflect the new brand are forthcoming. The 2023/2024 season begins in October and runs through April.

Jason Rapp

Hub Quick Hits: SCAC grant helped launch “Project Pirouette” in Upstate

Summer program introduced more children to ballet

International Ballet in Greenville worked with three partners this summer to fight inequality and take ballet to children.

Oh by the way, an SCAC grant helped them do it. From WYFF reporting:

This year, International Ballet partnered with Freedom Within Walls at Lead Academy, the Phillis Wheatley Community Center and Pleasant Valley Connection to teach classes at different locations over the summer.

“We all know the social inequality gaps. Some of the children are not able to afford extended day enrichment activities," said Tara Scott, executive director and one of the founders of Freedom Within Walls. "The thing that we’re really excited about is being able to allow the arts in different extracurricular activities that, you know, they may not otherwise be afforded."

The story was even picked up nationally by NBC News. Click here to watch the WYFF story segment now. International Ballet got the leg up (groan) by virtue of landing (groan) a Summer Arts Education Project grant from the SCAC.

Jason Rapp

2023 S.C. Arts Awards: Carlos Agudelo

Governor's Award: Individual Category

Graphic with white copy on a dark blue background overlaid on granite blocks. The white text reads South Carolina Arts Awards 2023. As the day nears for the 2023 South Carolina Arts Awards, The Hub is focusing on this year's recipients: five receiving the South Carolina Governor's Awards for the Arts from the South Carolina Arts Commission and two receiving the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award, managed jointly by the SCAC and McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.

Carlos Agudelo has been Ballet Spartanburg’s artistic director since 1991.

Among his choreography are classic and contemporary favorites, from The Nutcracker, Coppelia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Carmina Burana to The Hobbit, West Side Story, The Little Mermaid, The Wizard of Oz, and An American in Paris. Some of these have been performed at Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Columbia, Greenville, Greenwood, and Rutherford County, North Carolina. Under Agudelo’s direction in 2012, Ballet Spartanburg formed a resident professional company comprised of a diverse group of dancers from across the world. For 10 years, it has performed from Spartanburg to North Carolina, Texas, and Las Vegas, in the process staging more than 85 presentations of his choreography. A native of Colombia, Agudelo began his training with the Atlantic Foundation for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale under the direction of Ruth Petrinovic. He received a scholarship to study at the Harkness Ballet School in New York City and danced with the Israel Classic Ballet in Tel Aviv. He toured the world dancing with the International Ballet de Caracas under the direction of former Harkness Ballet dancer Vicente Nebrada. Alvin Ailey coached him in Ailey’s ballet, The River. He also danced with Ballet Hispanico of New York under the direction of Tina Ramirez. Mr. Agudelo received the 2021 Civitan Servant’s Heart Award for the community of Spartanburg and the 2022 Spartanburg Citizen of the Year awarded by the Spartanburg Kiwanis Club. In 2018, Ballet Spartanburg was awarded the S.C. Governor’s Award for the Arts in the organization category.
The South Carolina Arts Awards are coming live to SCETV on Sunday, May 14, 2023 at 8 p.m. ET. South Carolina ETV, the state’s public educational broadcasting network, will broadcast the awards ceremony through its 11-station TV network that spans the state. Viewers can access the broadcast via livestream on the homepage of SCETV.org; by using a digital antenna; or through cable, satellite, and streaming live TV providers. Further information about accessing SCETV is available here.

Jason Rapp

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.