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Harbison Theatre offering classes for dancers along the Autism Spectrum

parsonsdanceHarbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College received a South Carolina Arts Commission Accessibility grant to increase sensory-friendly access to dance. The Theatre is partnering with Parsons Dance, The S.C. Autism Society, and Columbia College to offer three dance classes for dancers along the Autism Spectrum. Experienced dance educator Terrance Henderson is leading two of the fun, pressure-free workshops suitable for dancers of any experience - including no experience at all - and the final workshop will be facilitated by dancers from Parsons Dance (pictured right). The next two classes are Oct. 22 and Nov. 16. Participants in one or more of these workshops will be awarded a certificate of participation on stage at the end of the Parsons Dance Relaxed Performance on Nov. 19. Each workshop is only $5 and is open to dancers 7 years and older. Workshops take place in the Godbold Center on the campus of Columbia College. Find out more on Harbison Theatre's website. https://youtu.be/qamoKLha998   Via: Harbison Theatre

Every child is a dancer – skills and habits for teaching dancers along the autism spectrum

parsonsdanceIn collaboration with the South Carolina Autism Society and Columbia College, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is offering a one-day workshop designed to better help dance educators serve their dancers with autism spectrum disorder. The workshop takes place Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m at Harbison Theatre. Registration fee is $25 and includes lunch. The workshop will cover:

  • Sensory sensitivity in the dance studio
  • Fine and gross motor challenges
  • Behavioral expectations in the dance studio
  • Relaxed performance procedures
All participants receive a ticket to the Parsons Dance relaxed performance on November 19. Find out more and register. This seminar for teachers is part of a larger collaboration aimed at increasing and deepening the opportunities for dancers and dance fans with autism and their families to enjoy professional dance instruction and performance. These additional opportunities are available:
  • October 1 and 22 - Beginning dance workshop for dancers with autism spectrum disorder
  • November 16 - Masterclass for dancers with autism spectrum disorder taught by Parsons Dance
  • November 19 - Relaxed performance by Parsons Dance

Three S.C. organizations selected for South Arts Dance Touring Initiative

[caption id="attachment_19163" align="alignright" width="300"]RIOULT Dance NY RIOULT Dance NY is one of the companies providing residencies for the Dance Touring Initiative[/caption] The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in Hilton Head, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, and Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College in Columbia have been selected for the third cohort of 10 arts presenters participating in South Arts' Dance Touring Initiative (DTI), a competitive and intensive three-year program supporting performing arts presenters throughout the South. With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, venues across the South will develop a rich selection of performances, workshops, and audience engagement activities to connect local audiences with touring modern dance and contemporary ballet companies. “We are excited to begin our third DTI cycle,” said Nikki Estes, program director with South Arts. “The first two cycles have connected over 30,000 audience members throughout the South with modern dance and contemporary ballet, and we look forward to broadening that impact over the coming years. After the start of this third cycle, we will have 26 active arts presenters in the initiative as a network and learning community among dance presenters.” The third cohort of presenter participants:

  • Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Hilton Head Island, SC
  • Arts Council of Central Louisiana, Alexandria, LA
  • Bologna Performing Arts Center, Cleveland, MS
  • City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, Charleston, SC
  • Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
  • Duke Performances/Duke University, Durham, NC
  • Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, Columbia, SC
  • Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville, KY
  • Memphis Development Foundation/The Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, TN
  • Paramount Theatre/City of Goldsboro, Goldsboro, NC
The 26 arts presenters come from eight Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) and will receive professional development, take part in residency planning visits with artistic directors from major national dance companies, and receive financial support to provide both educational programming and public performances for their audiences. “DTI enables these organizations to expand their already solid community partnerships,” said Suzette M. Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “This training provides presenters with additional platforms to garner a larger and stronger audience base, especially around modern dance and contemporary ballet.” 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.  

Harbison Theatre’s Performance Incubator debuts “tapestry of jazz and modern dance”

Experience the beauty of live jazz matched with fluid, contemporary movement when The HT@MTC Performance Incubator debuts Woven: Life in Notes and Steps, composed by internationally touring, locally bred trumpeter Mark Rapp on Jan. 14, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. The event takes place at Midlands Technical College's Harbison Theatre in Irmo, S.C. In this one-of-a-kind tapestry of jazz and modern dance, jazz composer Rapp teams up with professional choreographer Stephanie Wilkins to meld choreography with improvisation, taking the audience on a life voyage through universal human experiences, from passion to despair, from questioning to acceptance. Woven was developed exclusively as part of The HT@MTC Performance Incubator. “Woven alludes to how everyone is connected in the giant web of life, like threads strung together,” said Rapp. “Each piece, each melody is choreographed, while the solos are improvised by both dancers and instrumentalists inspiring one another – creating an exciting, organic and unique artistic presentation each time.” During their professional careers in New York City, Rapp and Wilkins worked in the upper echelons of the performing arts industry. In Woven, their collective experiences are conveyed through an evening-length set of works featuring five jazz musicians and six modern dancers, portraying, through notes and steps, how we are all connected – woven – together in this fabric of life. Rapp has performed sold-out shows for audiences in New Orleans, New York City and Europe, playing in legendary venues such as The Blue Note and Joe’s Pub with top-tier musicians such as Branford Marsalis and Hootie and the Blowfish. In 2008, DownBeat Magazine listed Rapp on their short list of “Top emerging jazz trumpeters.” Rapp has since recorded four albums as a lead musician, including his critically acclaimed debut Token Tales (2009), and has been featured on various chart-topping jazz albums. Wilkins received her Masters of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, where she lived for 14 years. She has taught, choreographed and performed extensively in New York, San Francisco and Brazil, and has worked with many notable choreographers in NYC, including Bill T. Jones (as an apprentice), Bebe Miller and David Parsons. Wilkins has since returned to Columbia, S.C. and currently serves as an adjunct professor of dance and a choreographer for the USC Dance Company at the University of South Carolina. For ticket information, visit www.HarbisonTheatre.org or call (803) 407-5011. This project is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. About Harbison Theatre Rooted in the performing arts, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College offers programs and productions that encourage reflection, examination and discovery; and that provide entertainment, education and opportunity to professionals, learners and community members in all stages of life. To learn about upcoming events, purchase tickets, or pursue sponsorship and volunteer opportunities with Harbison Theatre, visit www.HarbisonTheatre.org. About Midlands Technical College Midlands Technical College (MTC) is a comprehensive, two-year, public college serving Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties of South Carolina. The fifth-largest higher education provider in South Carolina and the largest provider of transfer students to four-year colleges and universities in the state, MTC offers an excellent education at an excellent value. Serving approximately 18,000 academic credit students and 15,000 Corporate and Continuing Education students annually, MTC equips students with the tools they need to meet the challenges and opportunities of the modern work world. Learn more at midlandstech.edu. Via: Harbison Theatre

“The Mountaintop” gives glimpse into King’s last night

From The State:

When “The Mountaintop” comes to the Midlands this weekend, audiences will get a glimpse into the last night of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. The play, presented by Charleston’s PURE Theater on a statewide tour, is a fictional account of King’s last night, focusing on the interactions between the civil rights leader and a hotel maid, Camae, who delivers his room service at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. While based on one of America’s most iconic figures, the play is more of an examination of its two characters than a piece of historical drama, said Joy Vandervort-Cobb, who plays Camae. “Audiences shouldn’t be frightened (off). It’s not a historical piece except for the fact that it’s about Dr. King,” Vandervort-Cobb said. “It’s funny, it’s touching and it gets to a part of Dr. King we’re not as familiar with.” Vandervort-Cobb said Camae is her favorite role of all the ones she’s had in her career as an actor. “There is a light about this woman who is this hotel maid that has this encounter with Dr. King,” she said. “Just as you think it’s going in one direction ... you can’t imagine what direction it is going in. I love doing this role and thinking about being this person.” The play humanizes King, painting him as a person as opposed to a figurehead, said Katie Fox, executive director of the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. “What excited us about this play was that Dr. King was treated as a person. We expect great things from our students, but it’s also important to say people who did great things had some regrets and weren’t perfect,” Fox said. “We don’t want you to be perfect, but to do your best for yourselves and your families. You don’t have to be superhuman to do very difficult things to help the world.” That theme is transferrable to modern day public figures, Vandervort-Cobb said. “It also extends that conversation,” she said. “We look at community leaders ... and we don’t ascribe to them any flaws. We put them on a pedestal and when we see a flaw, we kick them off.” The play is on tour around South Carolina with support from the South Carolina Arts Commisson, in an effort to increase the frequency of touring professional theater companies from within South Carolina, said director Sharon Graci.  

Harbison Theatre offers sensory-friendly performance of Story Squad

Harbison Theatre will reprise Story Squad for a sensory-friendly performance designed to engage all audiences, particularly those along the autism spectrum and others who live with sensory sensitivity. This sensory-friendly performance will be the first produced by a professional company in the Midlands and will be performed on May 19 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. Sensory-friendly performances are productions slightly modified to create a more comfortable, enjoyable experience for audience members along the autism spectrum and for those who experience other sensory sensitivity. Loud sounds are quieter, surprising elements are not as surprising, the lights over the audience are not as dark, and ushers are trained to unobtrusively alert parents and other audience members to upcoming mood, music or lighting changes. Sensory-friendly performances are also accompanied by social stories that help prepare audience members for the experience. Visit the performance web page to read the social story and to buy tickets. The cast of Story Squad and the technical staff of Harbison Theatre worked with Jessie Baughman, lead case manager for Palmetto Autism Interventions, and with Susanna Fomby, former Columbia resident and consultant to the sensory-friendly performance of The Lion King on Broadway, to tailor this performance for the audience.  Says Baughman, “Sensory disorders, common but not limited to individuals with autism, can make attending some events and outings challenging for families. By offering sensory-friendly performances, Harbison Theatre provides an inclusive and judgment-free environment in which Midland's children and their families can have an opportunity to experience the arts. Fostering programs for children to learn and share experiences together, despite disability, is essential to the community, and my hope is that more organizations in the Midlands follow the example of Harbison Theatre." About Story Squad Story Squad celebrates the myriad ways that humans communicate our stories – through spoken words, song, lights, music and more. The show is the first production born of the Harbison Theatre at MTC Incubator for New Artistic Work. The Incubator invited Darion McCloud, renowned and beloved storyteller, actor, and director based in Columbia, to create a new production that would be suitable for touring to other communities. McCloud assembled his squad of musicians, actors and storytellers and together they created Story Squad.  The show will tour both its original and its sensory-friendly performances. About Harbison Theatre Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College presents high-quality performances and events that strengthen the education of our students, deepen our relationship with the community, and make the Midlands a region where people love to learn, work, play and prosper. To learn about upcoming events, purchase tickets and pursue volunteer opportunities, visit the Harbison Theatre website. Story Squad Via: Harbison Theatre