When the 75 plus attendees at Columbia City Ballet's Uncorked Ballet Preview on Saturday night first arrived at the CCB Studios at Taylor and Main we knew we were in for a dance treat. Much of the choreography for the company's upcoming performance of Aladdin comes from challenging classical ballets with time-tested variations such as La Bayadere. Seeing the dancers perform the difficult movements on stage comes complete with a required finesse suggesting a certain ease of performance. But witnessing the dancers in the glaring lights of the studio gives no such illusion. The difficulty, and sometimes danger, of the choreography is plain to see as the dancers pant and grunt and sweat and almost fall then regain their footing, before collapsing at the sides of the studio, exhausted and exhilarated.
No make up, no costumes, no nets.
But before the backstage preview even got underway CCB executive director William Starrett shared an exciting announcement. In conjunction with Columbia Classical Ballet, who suffered tremendous studio losses last fall during the October floods, Columbia City Ballet will be bringing American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, to Columbia on March 15th for a luncheon to benefit both Columbia City and Classical Ballets.
"We are thrilled to make this announcement and looking forward to sharing more details as they become available," Starrett said.
Misty Copeland is known throughout the dance world for her athletic dance style as well as for being the first African American principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre's 75 year history. She performed the lead role in Washington Ballet's Swan Lake last spring with Columbia native Brooklyn Mack who is in his fifth year as principal dancer with Washington Ballet.
Following the announcement, the dancers of Columbia City Ballet continued to take our collective breath away.