PREVIEW: Puck Luck - Colin Jacob Has It in Columbia City Ballet's Upcoming A Midsummer Night's Dream by Susan Lenz

"Puck luck" is a hockey term that refers to those factors which influence the outcome of a game that do not involve the strategy and skill of the players.

 

When Columbia City Ballet and the full South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Morihiko Nakahara perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Koger Center this coming Saturday night, January 27th, Colin Jacob will be the envy of many hopeful dancers. He’ll be wearing green and dancing his first principal role. Plucked from the corp de ballet by Artistic Director William Starrett, Colin will use his acting background from high school musical theater and gymnastics to bring Shakespeare’s “merry wanderer of the night," Puck, a mischievous but shrewdly knavish sprite to life.

 

The role is demanding. It requires lofty leaps, whirling turns, and even a bit of tree climbing. The speed of the scherzo leaves the dancer breathless but insists on an immediate return to stage as if the activity was all in the course of a normal day. A clever but impish character must be maintained despite the grueling pace. This is Jacob Colin’s challenge. He has videotapes from previous Columbia City Ballet seasons, including one featuring Jose Serrano in the role. I remember that show well. In fact, I know the ballet rather well. William Starrett’s 1987 choreography is inspired by Sir Frederick Ashton’s from 1964. I’ve seen that version too. I know that Puck is the audience favorite. I was happy to hear that Colin Jacob is working hard to do as well or even better than those who have already performed the fun but rigorous role here. This is his “big break”. Some might even call it “Puck Luck”.

 

Perhaps “Puck Luck” was involved. No one could have predicted the strategy that would find the originally cast dancer no longer with the company, that Colin would unexpectedly be told to learn the part after rehearsals had begun. Perhaps “Puck Luck” was involved because Colin’s skill doesn’t come with more than a decade of dance training, something generally expected for a principal part. Yet, my interview told another story.

 

At seventeen, Colin was asked to help a local, amateur show in his hometown of Brecksville, Ohio.  They needed a male dancer. Without prior dance experience, Colin stepped up to the plate, continued lessons, and earned a scholarship to Pittsburgh’s Point Park University, one of the country’s top programs. He earned his BA in only three years and accepted a trainee position with Ballet West in Salt Lake City. This was after winning scholarships in 2013 and 2014 from Youth American Grand Prix, an international amateur dance competition. No dancer climbs the ladder of success so quickly without natural ability, a great work ethic, and tremendous daily effort. 

 

My interview with Colin revealed him to be a most articulate young artist who is looking forward to performing to live music.  He said that as a dancer, live music makes the show “feels like the first time because it isn’t exactly like a tape recording. Music is a cultural plus.”

 

(Please note, child prodigy, Felix Mendelssohn wrote the overture as a seventeen year old in 1826 and added his incidental music, Opus 61, sixteen years later for the production of Shakespeare’s play. The score includes the now, traditional “Wedding March”, generally heard as brides walk down aisles. This melody was adopted by Princess Victoria in 1858 for her wedding to Prince William of Prussia.)

 

Of course Columbia City Ballet rehearses to a tape recording. There’s no other way to do it!  For Colin, each rehearsal is getting easier and easier, but he is quick to add that each one reveals another fine point for him to work on. 

 

I am quite sure that Colin Jacobs will be bringing a memorable performance to the stage.  I wish I could see it, but alas I’ll be teaching a fiber arts workshop in Alabama. More than for myself, I hope Colin’s parents are able to make the arrangements. Like Colin, they weren’t expecting “Puck Luck”, a big break for a very likable and talented dancer. Thankfully, many will be in the audience especially to see Colin. He regularly teaches dance at Southern Strut, Columbia City Jazz, Richland Northeast High School and at Columbia Music Festival Association where he also media coordinator. 

 

Accepting the corps de ballet position with Columbia City Ballet, along with his other dance related opportunities, has provided Colin a level of financial stability. He bought a car and is paying off student loans. More importantly, our local dance company has provided amazing performance opportunities and the potential for upward mobility.  Whether “Puck Luck” was involved or not, Saturday’s performance is more than a “big break” for a single dancer. It is a big break for people in Columbia is watch the start of a winning young talent.  It is a fabulous opportunity to see our full company perform to live music. I’ve focused this preview on just one dancer but there are many. Go see for yourself! It will be worth it!

Tickets for the 3:00 PM matinee and the 7:30 PM evening performances on Saturday, January 27th are available at:

http://www.kogercenterforthearts.com/event.php?id=535

 

Music at the Rosewood Arts Festival by Annie Brooks

rosewood arts fest 2014 The Rosewood Arts Festival is a day of family friendly fun centered around the celebration of music and art. Hosted by Rockaway’s Athletic Club, the festival is in its fourth consecutive year. From 10 am to 6 pm there will be two stages featuring music from various genres. This year has gathered Chase Asmer, Dreher High School Chorale, Tom Hall and the Plowboys, the SC Philharmonic Orchestra Musicians, and the Tonya Tyner Trio. There will be something for every ear to enjoy.

Of the musical talents he has brought together to perform at the festival, creator Arik Bjorn said, “I know one thing, and that’s that this is the best group of Columbia musicians and entertainers you’re going to find in a single place on a single day this year.”

The various musical groups participating are just as passionate about the event.

The SC Philharmonic has been a returning presence to the festival. This year they will be represented by two small ensembles on either stage; a string quartet and a wind duo. Executive director Rhonda Hunsinger said, “We are excited that the SC Philharmonic has been a part of the Rosewood Arts Festival since its inception. The festival has done a wonderful job of making sure a wide variety of musical genres is represented, from contemporary to classical. The Festival gives the SC Phil a great opportunity to share classical music with the public, and introduce it to those who may not have ever attended an SC Phil performance.”

 

Tonya Tyner

This will be the second year that Tonya Tyner has played with a group for the festival. She is proud to be a returning artist to a festival that brings so many different components of the arts community together. Thrilled with the group she has joining her, Tonya will play guitar, along with Brodie Porterfield, and L.J. Errante on the mandolin. All of their songs are original and offer a folky bluegrass vibe. Tonya also offered that the festival is a great way to meet the artists and discuss their art.

 

It is not often that one is given access to such rich talent for no cost of admission. The Rosewood Arts festival is a wonderful opportunity to be submersed in local art and music. There will be entertainment all day with crafts, face painting, and good food as well. It is a free event cohosted by Rockaways Athletic Club and the Trenholm Artist Guild, held at Rockaways (2719 Rosewood Drive) on September 20th from 10 am to 6 pm.