About Columbia Dance & this JUNK show on Friday night

JUNK Jasper loves dance -- and really, why wouldn't he? Dance is a physical interpretation of ideas, expressions, and emotions that run the gamut from joy to sorrow, piety to provocation, intrigue to explanation, and more. Whether executed by highly trained artists who emphasize technique and the curriculum and pedagogy under which they formed their world view about what dance should be, or the hapless and random movements of a toddler trying to find her first groove in the middle of a street concert, witnessing dance can be a transformative experience. The experience of dancing for oneself can border on the religious.

As we've said before, Columbia is in no short supply of dance.  Ballet companies, both professional and civic, abound. Local universities offer impressive dance departments with internationally known instructors. Smaller companies directed by unusually talented and experienced professionals -- like Caroline Lewis-Jones, Terrance Henderson, and Miriam Barbosa -- pop up throughout the season with fascinating shows, although these tend to be sparsely attended due to lack of funding for promotion. Erin Bolshakov down at Vista Studios has created an entire sub-culture around her art form.

Clearly, Columbia is a dancing city. We've had world class dancers come from our midst to grace the great dance stages throughout the world. Many of the dancers who have made Columbia their home have done so after dancing on some of those stages.

And yet, ...

For some reason we seem to lack the concomitant energy and verve that one might expect from the kind of dance city that we live in.

Why is that?

This is a question Jasper will be asking of you, our dancers, our artistic directors, our dance audiences, our sympathetic artists from other disciplines over the next few months.

Where are we going as a dance center? Are we going anywhere? If we aren't as dynamic as we should be, from where does our stasis come?

In the meantime, we invite you to engage with a dance company touring through our midst that is anything BUT static. JUNK.

Check it out at Harbison Theatre on Friday night.

Here's a little something about Junk.



After selling out multiple shows in its first signature season including contemporary dance masters Pilobolus, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is bringing the Philadelphia-based dance troupe, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, to Columbia. The company will perform the show Patio Plastico Plus on October 18 at 7:30 p.m. Note: this engagement is one night only.

Far from traditional, the troupe uses found objects from pogo sticks to plastic jugs to create an onstage world that straddles contemporary dance and theater.

Sanders, formerly of the MOMIX company of dancer-illusionists, is known for creating athletic dance pieces that are in turn intense and moving, then light and comical.

“Last year, audiences LOVED Pilobolus. I did, too!,” says Director of Theatre Operations, Katie Fox. “The athleticism and storytelling held us all transfixed.” She continues, “For some, it was their first experience with live contemporary dance.”

JUNK has been jumping over boundaries, setting a new path in modern dance performance since it was founded in Philadelphia, Pa. in1997. The clever and creative repurposing of found objects presents an array of choreographic obstacles to be used and manipulated. Dancers perform with props as if they were animated partners, presenting technique that is both physically beautiful and witty.

Says Fox, “This show is so clever! Waiting for the preview show to begin in New York, we heard what sounded like ducks quacking backstage. When the dancers emerged, they danced an entire piece with ‘quacking’ two-liter bottles strapped to their feet!”

Patio Plastico Plus is a show of seven pieces performed in two, 40-minute segments with a 15-minute intermission. The segments, illuminated by dazzling light and rhythmic, mood-shifting music, are performed in quick, powerful bursts with little to no pauses.

This performance will leave a smile on the faces of both the new and the experienced dance fan. Tickets for Patio Plastico Plus are $30 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org.