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DANCE UofSC Fall Concert

Emily Robertson performing in “Les Sylphides.”

Special to GoColumbia

The University of SC Dance Program will present its Fall Concert Nov. 1-2 at the Koger Center for the Arts.

The concert’s wide-ranging repertory will feature Michel Fokine’s classic one-act ballet “Les Sylphides” (restaged for this concert by Jennifer Deckert), world-premiere works by guest choreographer Addison Ector (Complexions Contemporary Ballet) and Olivia Waldrop, and an original piece by André Megerdichian.

Set to the music of Frédéric Chopin, “Les Sylphides” has no specific plot, but paints a moving portrait of a poet engaging with his muses, the sylphs.

“This piece has the ability to connect the audience to another world,” says Deckert, an associate professor in the dance program. “[It] inspires us all to take a deep breath and allow our senses to connect to the beauty of nature.”

 ‘Les Sylphides’ is considered the first abstract ballet and ushered in a new era of ballet in the 20th century,” says Professor Stephanie Milling, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “Fokine chose to marry form and function where the movement itself could provide the subtext of the work as opposed to the division of dance and pantomime commonly seen in classical ballets.”

Contrasting the classic choreography of “Les Sylphides” will be a brand-new ballet by guest artist Addison Ector, a dancer with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, one of the world’s leading contemporary ballet companies. Titled “Give Up and Go On,” the piece is a cathartic journey of learning to move on with confidence after failing.

“The title was the saying of the répétiteur of a world-renowned choreographer who I worked with in Europe,” says Ector. “If you mess up, do not worry about it. Just keep moving and enjoy the rest of the journey. Even though the statement was made for moving on from a mistake, it can be applied to situations like relationships, careers and everyday decisions.”

“The piece begins at a very dark and low state,” he adds, “but at the end will have the audience enjoying the dancers strutting around the stage.”

“Warm Hearts and Hot Feet,” an original dance work by Assistant Professor André Megerdichian, pays homage to some of the great American dance innovators of the last century.

“The inspiration comes from a time in dance when many innovators in the field were using dance to convey the entirety of the human experience,” says Megerdichian. “I had this idea of José Limón, Martha Graham, Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly, and Gwen Verdon all sitting in a bar, listening to music and sharing their stories and ideas. ‘Warm Hearts and Hot Feet’ belongs to all them in some way, reveling in great music and winking their eyes at us.”

Olivia Waldrop’s “Dust to Dust,” created for this concert in collaboration with the dancers, explores how dynamics in movement can be created by juxtaposing themes inherent in Southern Gothic imagery.

“For me, fall elicits a feeling of sentimentality,” says Waldrop. “Exploring Southern Gothic imagery allows me to explore similar ideas of nostalgia while providing a more dynamic experience for the audience.”

Special to GoColumbia

If you go

What: University of South Carolina Dance Program’s Fall Concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.

Where: The Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St.

Tickets: $15 for students, $20 for USC Faculty/Staff, Military and Seniors, and $22 for the general public. They can be purchased online at kogercenterforthearts.com or by phone at 803-777-5112.

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