Columbia Dance and Improvisation Festival happening NOW - blog by Jasper Intern Abby Davis

improv The first annual Columbia Dance and Improvisation Festival (CDIF) is taking place in Columbia from Thursday, August 7th through Sunday, August 10th.  The event is being hosted by The Power Company Collaborative at Columbia College.  Dancers will spend the four days participating in a wide array of classes, improvisational jams, informal performances, and discussions. The four-day intensive aims to bring South Carolina dancers together to practice improvisational skills, showcase works in progress, and share feedback.  Associate director and instructor Amanda Ling says she hopes people leave with “more security in dancing and moving through space with other people.”


CDIF is offering six different classes—contemporary dance technique, contemporary dance fusion, yoga and somatic reflection, contact improvisation, improvisational methods, and site-specific dance and composition. Instructors include Martha Brim, Marcy Yonkey-Clayton, Amanda Ling, Ashlee Taylor, Erin Bailey, Angela Gallo, and Terrance Henderson, the 2014 Jasper Artist of the Year in Dance.


In addition to technique classes and morning yoga, there will be three improvisational jams throughout the festival.  Amanda Ling says that she is mostly looking forward to the improvisational jams, “that is the time for people to just be spontaneous, and you never know how it’s going to turn out.  Sometimes they’re really subtle, reflective, and meditative, and other times they get really wild and crazy where everyone is dancing and laughing and the music is loud.  It can really go either way, and I enjoy both directions, so I’m excited to see which way they will go.”


“Dance, dessert, and discussion” will take place on Saturday night, with the dance aspect consisting of an informal performance from any dancers that wish to share.  This gives the dancers an opportunity to showcase some of their works, finished or unfinished, and get constructive feedback from fellow dancers.  The Power Company Collaborative, Columbia College, Coker College, and Winthrop College will all be participating in the showcase.


While this is only the first annual Columbia Dance and Improvisational Festival, The Power Company Collaborative is already looking forward to the future of the event.  They are interested in adding a component that would involve younger dancers, offering housing to people coming from out of town, and expanding to include other states and even other disciplines. Martha Brim, director of The Power Company Collaborative, says “The Power Company has just gone through a transformation of becoming more collaborative, so I think it would be wonderful to open it up to other arts and disciplines beyond dance.”  For this year, however, Brim hopes that when the dancers leave the festival, “everyone feels rejuvenated, artistically and personally, and really connected with a community that’s growing.”


- Abby Davis