TJC’s annual production of DanceFest combines classical ballet, modern dance and years of dance experience.
Carolyn Hannah, director of the Academy of Dance, and program coordinator for the dance department at TJC, said DanceFest incorporates the college dance department, and the advanced pre-professional dance students in The TJC Academy of Dance. She said there are ballet, modern, and jazz dancers from the college along with a few actors from the theater department participating in DanceFest.
DanceFest is a two-part program in which the first part features classical ballet and the second part features modern and contemporary dance.
The ballet portion of DanceFest will be a performance of the ballet Coppelia, “It’s a comic ballet, which is nice for the audience,” Hannah said. “I think some people think of ballet as very rigid and classical, but you can also have a lot of fun with it.”
The production of Coppelia will be a condensed version of the ballet while still keeping true to the original story and choreography.
Hannah said the many choreographers have worked with the ballet since the late 1800’s. Her restaged version will differ from the original ballet.
The second part of DanceFest is the more modern, contemporary portion of the program, and will feature The Phantom of the Opera.
Shurrell Weibe, a professor of dance at TJC, worked out the production’s original choreography. She uses movement rather than words or singing to tell the story, but the performance will still stay true to the original plotline.
“We have contemporary ballet, modern and jazz. You will also see little sections of hip-hop, so it’s a good mixture,” Weibe said, calling the play “A love story intertwined. It’s fascinating. It’s fun, and the music just makes it.”
DanceFest incorporates a wide variety of ages, from 10 to 21.
“Some people have been doing DanceFest for 6 or 7 years,” Hannah said.
Katherine Craig is one of those lifelong dancers. A student at TJC, she has been involved with DanceFest for the past four years. She began dancing at TJC in the Academy program at age 12.
“I am excited about DanceFest, but it is bitter sweet for me this year, because it is my last performance at TJC,” said Craig.
Every Saturday morning since January, the dancers have rehearsed from 8. a.m. to 4. p.m. They spend nearly all of each Saturday in the dance studio, but they don’t mind the work.
“Rehearsal can be long and tiring, but it is my favorite dance activity,” Craig said. “It is a lot of fun and I enjoy it.”
The TJC Dance Department hopes to engourage people to come see the show and support the students involved.
“Most of the dancers are also dancing Monday-Friday at least a couple classes a day, so I think the audience would like to see all that work that goes into the show,” said Hannah.
They also want to be known as a place in the community to gain an eclectic view of the arts.
“It’s a show that is a variety, so it’s a show that pleases everybody’s palate,” said Weibe, “whether its jazz, ballet, or modern. I think it’s a great artistic experience for people.”
DanceFest is scheduled for 7. p.m. May 2 and 2.p.m. May 3 at TJC in Wise Auditorium. TJC students can get in free with their student ID. Non TJC students can purchase tickets at the TJC box office beginning April 13. Adult tickets are $10, and $5 for children. To purchase tickets, call the TJC box office at 903-510-2672.