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Summer Dance Concert to feature both classic, modern choreography

June 27, 2014

DancingThe Stephens Summer Dance Concert is this weekend and audience members are in for a treat, Director Elizabeth Hartwell said.
“Columbians will enjoy this concert because it will thread eclectic topics into a lighthearted and at times substantive journey,” she said. “In fact, our last piece is titled ‘Journey’ and features old rock songs from the famous band of the same name.”
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Macklanburg Playhouse.
Attendees can also expect dances involving large props, evoking a sense of freedom and fanciful fun, Hartwell added.
“Our students are a steadfast group,” she said. “Each dancer is ready to play many characters within one setting, and they accomplish their tasks with finesse and ease.”
Dancers have spent the past month working with an all-star cast of guest artists, including a ballet master who brings decades of knowledge and several who are at the peak of their professional careers.
Russell Sulzbach, director of the School of Performing Arts and of the Ballet South company, enjoyed fame in the 1970s as a lead dancer in the Joffrey Ballet. At Stephens, he’s challenged students to perfect classical ballet steps in new ways. His choreographed piece will combine traditional ballet with modern music.
Concert-goers can expect contemporary dances, as well, choreographed by professionals, including Stephens alumnus Francisco Graciano, a member of the prestigious Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York; and Morgan Hulen, a member of the world-renowned MOMIX. 
Brandi Coleman, associate artistic director of Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, choreographed her work around the company’s style, which celebrates the communal core of jazz performance: Dancing, singing and storytelling in rhythmically syncopated conversations.
And actor and dancer Hettie Barnhill choreographed her piece around movements inspired by some of her Broadway performances, including “Spider-Man.”

“Our students have enjoyed working with these incredible dancers,” Hartwell said. “We’re so excited to share the culmination of all of their work with the community this weekend.” 

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