Body and Movement Explored is a unique collaboration showcasing the works of Columbia City Ballet dancers and several guest choreographers who have created a mixed repertoire of works for the professional members of the Columbia City Ballet company.
Among the guest choreographers is Columbia-based, but internationally known dancer and choreographer Caroline Lewis Jones. Lewis-Jones has been dancing for over 27 years. At the age of 18 she moved to New York City where she performed for six years. Her credits include the VMA’s with NSYNC, the Latin Grammy Awards, WNBA National Commercial, Commercial work, Disney Industrials, Britany Spears “Me Against the Music” video, MTV’s Body Rock Fitness Video, and more. Although successful as a commercial dancer, her true passion lies within contemporary company work, where she has had the opportunity to work for Mia Michaels Company R.A.W, Dee Caspary’s IV Dance Company, Notario Dance Company, Rhapsody and Company, A.S.H Contemporary, and Justin Giles’ Soul Escape. In 2001 she traveled to Seoul, Korea where she performed for Jason Parson’s and POZ Dance Theatre. In July 2010, Caroline performed with Sonya Tayeh from “So You Think You Can Dance” with her company in Chicago. She also choreographs for studios around the country, and teaches for Adrenaline Dance Convention and The Dance Sessions.
Other guest choreographers include Rachael Leonard from Florida, Jerry Opdenaker, who performed with the company in Nutcracker, technical artist Ryan Stender, and local favorites Journy and Anna Wilkes-Davis.
During Jerry Opdenaker's 22-year dancing career, he worked as a principal company member for ballet companies such as Pennsylvania Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and Ballet Florida. As director of the nationally recognized STEP Ahead, Ballet Florida’s choreographic workshop, he was declared as a “Jewel of the Palm Beaches.” He has choreographed for the New York City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, McKnight Foundation Ballet, Gamonet, Ballet Florida National Choreographic Initiative and Florida Grand Opera. For the past five years he has served as the dance discipline coordinator for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts YoungArts program and directed his own company, O Dance, in West Palm Beach.
Rachael Leonard is co-founder and artistic director of Surfscape Contemporary Dance Theatre (SCDT), an adjudicator for the American College Dance Festival Association, a master artist in residence for Very Special Arts and an internationally published author of dance articles and papers. Leonard has choreographed throughout the US and taught at College of Southern Idaho, University of Utah, Alma College, Jacksonville University, Rowland-Hall Saint Marks School, Lowell Elementary School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School and Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Never seen before by any audience this year celebrates the fourth year of the Body Movement series. Performed at the CMFA Arts Space March 11th and 12th at 7:30p.m.
“At the helm of the state’s largest dance company I felt it was extremely important to create the Body & Movement series to help foster the talents for young modern, contemporary and classical choreographers," says William Starrett, Artistic and Executive Director of the company. "Not only from the midlands area but throughout the southeast so they could gain the experience of working with top professional dancers and simultaneously give the dancers opportunity to dance original works created for them with a wide range of creative styles, dance genres and artistic viewpoints.”
A total of twelve mixed repertoire pieces will be performed set to a variety of not only classical but popular music. Dancers include Anna Beavers, Madeline Foderaro, Katie Heaton, Courtney Holland, Laura Lunde, Bonnie Boiter-Jolley, Philip Ingrassia, Abby McDowell, Reinaldo Soto, Denis Vezetiu, Regina Willoughby, Claire Richards, Camilo Herrera, Rebecca Bowles, Maurice Johnson, Emily Carrico, Ashley Concannon, Jordan Hawkins, Brandon Michaels, Ian Samuels, Autumn Hill, and Amanda Summey.
In addition to the performance, company member and gifted photographer Ashley Concannon will open an exhibit of her collection of work on Columbia City Ballet dancers.
According to Concannon, "The BME series was highly influenced by recent works done by Photographer BAKI, particularly those with dancer Friedemann Vogel. I love the movement and lighting of his photography, the balance of strength and grace. I wanted to imitate his work, with just a bit less of a whimsical look. I studied other works created by photographers Rachel Neville and Steve Vaccariello, and ultimately came up with this new collection of my own."
Body and Movement Explored will be held at the CMFA Art Space at 914 Pulaski Street in the Vista on Friday, March 11th and Saturday, March 12th at 7:30 p.m. The end of the performance will have an open mic discussion where the audience is invited to explore and discuss on their experience directly with the choreographers. Tickets are $25 in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com and $30 at the door. For more information or for help with ticketing call the Columbia City Ballet offices at 803.799.7605. A Facebook event revealing more information about the choreographer line-up can be found online here, https://www.facebook.com/events/685877574887978/