Columbia City Ballet’s promised tribute to the Emanuel 9 is opening this spring in three S.C. cities.
“Emanuel: Love is the Answer” will debut April 1 in Charleston, April 4 in Camden and April 7-8 in Columbia. The ballet honors the nine people killed at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in 2015.
“In my mind, dance is a type of prayer and art is a type of prayer,” artistic director William Starrett said during a Monday news conference. “I hope this will be inspirational and help in healing and understanding how we can come together better as humanity. Through art you can help people transcend, come together and unite.”
The multimedia ballet was designed to include political, religious and spiritual elements. For example, former S.C. Rep. Jenny Horne’s speech to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds, given in the aftermath of the June 17, 2015 shootings, will be included in the performance.
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“This was a personal tragedy, a personal loss,” said Horne. “I did not contemplate what I would say when I walked up to the podium, it just came out as emotions do. And sometimes emotions make for a more compelling argument.
“William did an amazing job weaving the speech into the music and it’s, quite frankly, a work of art,” Horne added. “People of all ages and races will enjoy this production.”
Starrett said he collaborated with artist Jonathan Green on the piece.
Tickets are on sale for the performances:
▪ Charleston: April 1, Sottile Theater on the College of Charleston campus, http://sottile.cofc.edu/
▪ Camden: April 4, Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, http://fineartscenter.org/
▪ Columbia: April 7-8, Koger Center for the Arts, www.kogercenterforthearts.com