Living

This week in the arts

Alvin Loving made the circuitous nature of life art.

The spirals he favored, in pieces such as "Memories of Midtown #9," a 1991 acrylic on rag paper work that is mounted on plastic, speak to a genesis - and an end.

The world is round. It rotates in a circle, and sometimes our lives seem to be spinning in such a way, without direction.

Loving's work is in "The Chemistry of Color: Contemporary African-American Artists," the Columbia Museum of Art's recent exhibition culled from The Harold A. and Ann R. Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African-American Art.

There is a symmetrical and almost musical harmony to Loving's "Memories," and today at the museum, the South Carolina Contemporary Dance Company will respond to the work with "The Chemistry of Contemporary Dance." The use of spirals attracted Miriam Barbosa, the company's founder and artistic director.

"It to me has the meaning of movement and air," said Barbosa, who noted that the company's logo includes a spiral. "And a feeling of never stopping, of being in constant motion."

The air, particularly, in Loving's work inspired Barbosa. When one walks into the museum atrium this afternoon, it will be hard to ignore the metal structure shaped like an upside down "U." Barbosa and guest dancer Javier Dzul, artistic director of Dzul Dance Company in New York, will explore "Memories" through an aerial piece entitled "Blood Memories."

The piece, called a fabric dance, will rely on spirals of the body as the dancers maneuver with colorful pieces of fabric.

"We will carry the audience from the auditorium to the lobby," Barbosa said. "That will be the culmination of the piece. The audience is going to fully participate."

If you watched the Grammy Awards, you'll probably recall Pink's hovering performance. The pop star sang over the audience while suspended from a harness. Barbosa applauded the choreography.

"She was challenging the world," Barbosa said. "She was fully there, upside down and singing into the microphone."

But while "Blood Memories" also includes an aerial routine, there is a striking difference: There will be no harness.

"It's physically much more challenging," said Barbosa, who danced in a harness at the September performance of "Catharsis" at the Koger Center. "It's 100 percent our body strength. It's a lot of training."

In addition to "Blood Memories," the company will perform "Synthetic Dances," a work inspired by "Beach Night," another of Loving's spiral pieces. The dance shares a title with the original music composed by John Valerio, a USC School of Music professor.

The company will again perform "The Chemistry of Contemporary Dance" Feb. 28 at the museum, but Dzul, who was Barbosa's partner when both were members of the Martha Graham Dance Company, will only appear at today's performance.

The museum is at Main and Hampton streets. $5 to $10; http://www.columbiamuseum.org or (803) 799-2810

The Columbia City Ballet will perform "Off the Wall and Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green" Saturday at Chicago's Harris Theatre as part of the South Side Community Art Center's 70th Anniversary Celebration. The company performed two preview shows at Drayton Hall last week.

The ballet, which debuted in 2005, brought to life the colorful and vividly arresting images painted by Green, who captured the essence of Gullah culture of the state's Lowcountry.

In six years of hosting the "Legends Of ..." concert, the Auntie Karen Foundation has consistently delivered legends to the Koger Center stage: Roberta Flack, Dianne Reeves, Al Jarreau, Patti Austin, Joe Sample and George Duke have performed at the foundation's annual fundraiser.

Instead of one legend this year, the foundation will present a duo: Ashford & Simpson. The concert will be held Friday at the Koger Center, and Ashford & Simpson will host a master class at the USC School of Music on Thursday.

Nickolas Ashford, who was born in Fairfield, and Valerie Simpson are a successful husband-and-wife songwriting team, writing some of Motown's most-recognized hits. The duo wrote "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "You're All I Need To Get By." They also wrote "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)," Diana Ross' debut solo single after leaving The Supremes. As performers, Ashford & Simpson's most widely known song is "Solid," an early '80s crossover hit.

The Koger Center is at 1051 Greene St. $31 to $56; http://www.AuntieKaren.org. or (803) 251-2222

The Palmetto Opera will host "An Evening in Italy" at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Capital City Club. Patrons will enjoy Italian food, drinks and, of course, selections from Italian operas. The evening requires cocktail attire. The club is at 1201 Main St., 25th floor. $75; (803) 776-0526 or http://www.palmettoopera.org

Odd Appetite and Susan Fancher will perform at the "Southern Exposure New Music Series" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the USC School of Music. Fancher is a saxophonist while Odd Appetite is a duo that voraciously pursues new ways of producing sound, including amplified cello and electronic effects. The school of music is at 813 Assembly St. Free; (803) 777-4280

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