Columbia City Ballet dances art of Jonathan Green on Saturday at Patriot Hall

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 2/28/19

The colorful and bold work of Lowcountry artist Jonathan Green, interpreted into dance by Columbia City Ballet Executive Director and choreographer William Starrett, comes to the Patriot Hall stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Green's paintings depict …

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Columbia City Ballet dances art of Jonathan Green on Saturday at Patriot Hall

Posted

The colorful and bold work of Lowcountry artist Jonathan Green, interpreted into dance by Columbia City Ballet Executive Director and choreographer William Starrett, comes to the Patriot Hall stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Green's paintings depict Gullah life along the South Carolina coast, and Starrett's choreography and staging recreate many of those paintings.

Green, a native of Garden Corner, is widely regarded by critics as one of the most important Southern artists, and Starrett is known for his creative choreography and staging of ballets. He is a winner of South Carolina's Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award.

Starrett said the ballet titled Off the Wall and Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green was created as a tribute to the artist, whose work he admires.

"As I studied the paintings, I was able to begin to see the movements in my mind," Starrett said. "From the subject matter, to the paint colors, to the brush strokes, all these things became an intrinsic part of creating the choreography."

Starrett's ballet was also greatly influenced by conversations he had with Green about his own inspirations and his "childhood stories." The resulting ballet has been highly acclaimed by critics and audiences as "the greatest addition to Columbia City Ballet's repertoire."

Several local singers and extras will also appear with the company's professional dancers.

Students from Sumter School District will have the opportunity to see an abbreviated version of the ballet on Friday, thanks in part to the Sumter Opera House's YES Grant Initiative. Sumter Cultural Commission and Patriot Hall Executive Director Melanie Colclough said the collaboration between the commission and the Sumter Opera House "is among the first of many" between Patriot Hall and the Opera House and "will strengthen the cultural opportunities in Sumter."

She continued, "Our mission is to expand the arts and cultural assets of Sumter County for the purpose of educating and retaining the next generation, encouraging economic vitality and strengthening the quality of life for our residents. This performance supports that effort because it not only infuses visual art and dance, but it celebrates the extremely talented artists we have right here in South Carolina. Both the Columbia City Ballet and Jonathan Green's work are sought after, respected and enjoyed throughout the world. And we are bringing all that talent to Sumter."

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance of Off the Wall can be purchased at Patriot Hall, 135 Haynsworth St., and Imports Ltd, 9 N. Main St., for $15 general admission. VIP tickets are also available for $30 and will include a reception before the performance and the opportunity to meet Green.

For more information, call Patriot Hall at (803) 436-2260.