Contemporary dance is more popular than ever, and Sumter Civic Dance Company artistic director Andrea Freed-Levenson is more enthusiastic than ever about the future of the style. The company will present its 19th-annual contemporary dance concert …
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Contemporary dance is more popular than ever, and Sumter Civic Dance Company artistic director Andrea Freed-Levenson is more enthusiastic than ever about the future of the style. The company will present its 19th-annual contemporary dance concert Friday at Patriot Hall. Titled "Emotion in Motion," the concert will feature seven pieces by winners of the Young Choreographers Award, also established in 2000.
Freed-Levenson, who choreographed five pieces for the concert, said she's gratified to have so many young dancers also doing choreography. T.J. Warren's story is representative of the talented young dancers in the company.
"I found him five years ago at an elementary school in Kershaw County where I was doing a workshop as an artist-in-residence (with the S.C. Arts Commission)," Freed-Levenson said. "He came up to me and asked, 'Can I show you a dance?'
"He'd never had a dance lesson. I was so impressed with what he did, I told his parents if they could get him to me from Camden I'd teach him to dance. He's now 15."
She said, "The young choreographers come out of the blue wanting to choreograph. They pick the music and get it approved. It's a very challenging process."
Freed-Levenson said the students "have acquired so much from TV programs like 'So You Think You Can Dance' and 'World of Dance' with dancers and choreographers from all over the world. Dancers are drawn to those, and they can go to YouTube (online), can take ideas from those and use them for their own choreography without copying them. They get ideas on different styles, lifts, movement from them - hundreds and hundreds of ideas. Movement is how you incorporate dance into the music."
Freed-Levenson works closely with the young choreographers, also noting that "This group of dancers are a good fit together - There's no jealousy, they support each other, and most of them are in the others' pieces."
The other winners of the Young Choreographers Award are Gracie Hudson, Lucy McIver, Mary Catherine Matthews, Nicole Dixon, Jasmine Washington and Mara Pierce.
Caroline Mack Center for the Arts dance company will perform a piece that Mack has choreographed to Chloe and Hallie's "Warrior," and Freed-Levenson's piece danced to John Lennon's "Imagine" will open the concert. Her choreography to "God Bless America" will close the program.
"I picked those two songs because we need it right now," she said.
Soloist for "God Bless America" is Andrea Barras Govier, a principal dancer with the company and instructor at the Freed School of Performing Arts.
"Face Deception," sung by Enya and also choreographed by Freed-Levenson, is the company's nod to Halloween. Freed-Levenson said "Anchor" is also a fun piece, with the Junior Company dancing with balloons.
The most dramatic piece, she said, is "Say Something," a contemporary piece "that tells a nice little story." It was choreographed by Warren.
Freed-Levenson said "Emotion in Motion" is approximately an hour and 15 minutes long. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Friday in Patriot Hall. Advance tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the Freed School of Performing Arts, 527 N. Guignard Drive or from Sumter Civic Dance Company members. The cost will be $10 at the Patriot Hall box office, 135 Haynsworth St. Call (803) 773-2847 for more information.
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