Body & Movement Explored – This Weekend's New Choreography Ballet Performance with William Starrett -- By Deborah Swearingen

  William Starrett -- artistic director Columbia City Ballet



Whether you’re from South Carolina or not, you can probably relate to the vitality that flows from the warm rays of the sun. Columbia City Ballet’s Artistic Director William Starrett understands this better than most. His ballet for Body and Movement Explored was inspired by his love for the sunshine. He hopes his choreography to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Hymn to the Sun” will warm the audience enough to satisfy them until summer finally makes its return.

After having great success in its first year, Body and Movement Explored is back for year two – bringing a mixed repertoire that combines all of the talent, technique, and experience of this accomplished company. The program is Columbia City Ballet’s outreach for developing young choreographers and stretching the talents of local artists. Professional dancers have the opportunity to work with a variety of choreographers to truly bring their visions to life.

One of the most unique aspects of the show is its fast pace. Varying from a more traditional full evening ballet, Body and Movement Explored consists of a mix-up of smaller ballets. This setup ensures that there is something for everyone in attendance. Even if you don’t particularly care for one of the shows, you’re sure to thoroughly enjoy another.

“It’s like an appetizer sampler plate,” Starrett says, laughing. “You can sample everything – all the fun foods we love in one evening.” Since a lot of subjects and issues are best addressed through smaller ballets, Starrett feels the show will spark audience debate.

New choreography helps to keep the art form vibrant and alive, Starrett says. Artists constantly reinvent themselves, and as artists evolve, so should the art form. Keeping up with the evolution of the human race is also important, and choreographers must learn to deal with issues from new perspectives.

But original choreography also comes with challenges. Time and space are issues that every choreographer faces, particularly in a show like a Body and Movement where several dancers are in multiple ballets. It can also be tough to ensure that dancers fully understand the vision of the choreographer. Getting the dancers to retain and produce a high percentage of the vision is difficult, but ultimately what makes being a choreographer so rewarding for Starrett.

Body and Movement Explored will be held at the CMFA Art Space at 914 Pulaski Street in the Vista on Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Student tickets are $10 with a valid student ID. Tables that seat 10 people are available at $300 or $500 for prime location. To purchase tickets in advance, visit Columbia City Ballet offices on the corner of Main and Taylor Street, call 803-799-7605, or go online to

The event will be choreographed by William Starrett and Pat Miller Baker; Wayland Anderson, Jordan Arthur Nelson, Ricky Davis, and David Ligon.