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Company 'Moving Forward' with contemporary dance

BY IVY MOORE
Features contributor
Posted 10/8/19

It's been 20 years since the Sumter Civic Dance Company presented its first full concert of contemporary dance, and executive director Andrea Freed-Levenson said accepting that original challenge was new and strange to her dancers but has for …

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Company 'Moving Forward' with contemporary dance

Posted

It's been 20 years since the Sumter Civic Dance Company presented its first full concert of contemporary dance, and executive director Andrea Freed-Levenson said accepting that original challenge was new and strange to her dancers but has for several years become one of the company's favorite concerts.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the company, with special guests from the Caroline Mack Center for the Arts, will present a concert of a little more than one hour of exclusively contemporary, or modern, dance at Patriot Hall.

Freed-Levenson said that contemporary dance "has gotten more technical, trickier," in large part thanks to TV programs such as So You Think You Can Dance, World of Dance, Dancing with the Stars, America's Got Talent and even Dance Moms. "You'd think the choreography would be very similar, but it's very different." Mary Catherine Matthews' choreography, she said, "is very quirky - adorable and quirky. Once she found the right music, she took it and ran with it."

Matthews is one of five members of the company who are recipients of the Young Choreographer's Award, Freed-Levenson pointed out. The others are Jasmine Washington, T.J. Warren, Toni McCray and Torrie Chapman.

"T.J.'s work is very emotional," Freed-Levenson said. Set to Blake McGrath's song "Missing You," "It's about people with day jobs. And moving on to different chapters in their lives - patients, graduates, some in hospital, school, going to jail, etc."

Her choreography to Sonn and Ayelle's "Lights Out" is Torrie Chapman's first. "It's a crossover between lyrical and contemporary," Chapman said. "The only thing I ask when choosing music is not to make it depressing."

Freed-Levenson said Chapman's piece is "more mainstream. I think jazz has taken a back seat to contemporary."

Erin Levenson Harms has choreographed one piece for the Sumter Civic Dance Company and another for the company's apprentice company, and Machaela Tindal has choreographed a piece to the music of Francis Novotny. Watch also for an additional two pieces by Freed-Levenson.

Freed-Levenson's choreography set to Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" will open the concert, and Mack's piece set to Ruth B.'s "Lost Boy," will follow.

Tickets for Friday's "Moving Forward" are available in advance for $10 at the Freed School of Performing Arts, 527 N. Guignard Drive, from members of the Sumter Civic Dance Company, or for $12 at the door of Patriot Hall, 135 Haynsworth St., before the 7 p.m. Friday concert. Call (803) 773-2847 for tickets or more information.