The Department of Theatre in the College of Charleston’s School of the Arts is excited to present its fourth annual dance concert, Looking Back, Moving Forward. This unique show provides the audience with a historical perspective of personal and cultural chronicles that help comprise who we are today. Looking Back, Moving Forward will run Saturday, March 17 – Monday, March 19 in the Emmett Robinson Theatre in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St. Curtain times will be 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Monday, and Sunday at 3 p.m. only. Tickets for this family-friendly show may be purchased at the box office or by calling (843) 953-5604. Tickets are $15 for the general population and $10 for College of Charleston students, faculty, staff, and senior citizens 60 and older. There will be a Talkback and reception with the cast and crew on opening night, March 17, following the performance.
The concert features choreography by faculty, students, and guest artists, including a reconstruction of Helen Tamiris’ Negro Spirituals, which is being restaged through Labanotation, a symbol-based language used to analyze, describe, and document movement. Dr. Gretchen McLaine, Artistic Director of the concert and Assistant Professor in the theatre department, is certified in Labanotation and was excited for the opportunity to bring this historically significant work to the college. “Not only does the audience benefit by seeing a beautiful work created in the formative years of modern dance, the students are also gaining valuable insight into their dance lineage and understanding the value of accurate documentation, which is what Laban provides. It takes you back to 1927, when Tamiris’ debuted the first of her Spirituals.”
Other dance genres include modern, ballet/pointe, and tap by talented choreographers Kayla Brown, Alex Danna, Eliza Ingle, Myers Varn, and guest artists Erin Leigh and Adrienne Wilson. Adjunct professor Ashley Stock is restaging America Dances, a ballet choreographed by the late Robert Ivey. Mr. Ivey, who passed away in July 2011, was Professor Emeritus and taught at the College for over 30 years. He was instrumental in creating the dance minor and laying the foundation for the current dance program.
With mentoring in lighting design by assistant professor Paul Collins and costume design by assistant professor Joshua Bond, multiple student designers are showcasing their talents on the stage. The cast includes 34 dancers, many of whom are minors in the dance program. McLaine notes, “The technical level of the dancers and choreographers is quite amazing this year. Every year we set the bar higher for ourselves, and every year we seem to go beyond what has previously been done.”