Experience “dance through the ages” with an emphasis on classical technique with Wild Hare Productions spring dance concert at 7 p.m. May 28, in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium on the Lander University campus.
“You will see everyone from our babies to our elders,” said Bess Park, artistic, executive and founding director of Wild Hare Productions, a nonprofit theater and dance performance company in Greenwood. “We have a new class — Old Soles and New Moves — with dancers in their 50s to their 80s. One of the dancers in that class is going to perform a solo. We’re teaching professionally grounded technique, but everyone should be able to dance.”
The concert will also highlight creative and technique aspects of modern dance, with two pieces to be presented after ballet performances. Original choreography, by some of the Wild Hare Studio dancers will be performed, too. The studio’s newly formed dance company will also perform.
“I had a dance company for years and this is sort of my beginning of planting the seed of having that here,” Park said.
Excerpts from ‘La Fille mal gardée’ is the ballet for this concert. It is based on a French ballet and is regarded as one of the first classical ballets, about a mother-daughter battle of the wills, when the daughter must choose a suitor.
“There are some partnering dances in this, with a couple of dancers playing breeches roles as male characters,” Park said. “We have more than 50 dancers in the concert. It’s going to be a full evening of really great dancing.”
Many of the young dancers in Park’s newly formed dance company at Studio One have been dancing since they were just 3 or 4 years old.
“I’ve come a long way and I don’t want to give it all up now,” said Peyton Hinton, 12, of Greenwood. “Come enjoy some grand jeté and big, fluffy tutus.”
For Brentley Sims, 18, of Greenwood, dance is an escape.
“Once you are in the studio, you can dance out your emotions. There are a lot of unstable things in life, but dance has always been there for me and I have always loved to do it. These girls here at the studio, I can always rely on them.”
For Julia Goff, 16, of Greenwood, the discipline and focus required for ballet is something that has drawn her to the dance form and kept her in it.
“A lot of dance you can learn it and do it, but to do ballet well, your heart also has to be in it,” Goff said.
Walker Self, 12, of Greenwood, said she disliked ballet initially.
“I wasn’t that good at it and thought it was too strict,” Self said. “But, once I got the basics, it was really fun.”
Victoria Jackson, 19, of Columbia who recently moved to Greenwood, teaches some of the ballet classes at Wild Hare and dances in the company. She’s a big proponent of learning classical foundations and cross-training through other dance forms.
“Doing something like tap can help ballerinas whenever they are doing their petit allegro steps in ballet,” Jackson said. “This concert is going to be more than just ballet. There a lots of flavors. It’s a Neapolitan ice cream.”
Park was tapped in the summer of 2018 to take over what was Studio One School of Ballet in Shoppes at Hampton Place in Greenwood, when Cathy Girvin, one of Park’s former dance teachers, retired.
“Cathy (Girvin), for 19 years, made this her life,” Park said. “She was my teacher and launched my professional career. The passage of the baton is very, very special.”
In addition to the dance component, Wild Hare also offers theater and performance, next door to the dance studio. Park is a registered somatic movement educator, yoga instructor and massage therapist.