SPECTRUM/A COMMUNITY ACCESS GUIDE is a new Sun Feature. Each month we’ll focus on a different topic, with the emphasis on practical information. Next month: natural foods. Other topics will include health care, music, housing, the environment, crafts, sports, the family, and so on. Your active participation can make SPECTRUM a valuable resource for all of us. Write The Sun, Box 732, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514.
Dance has long been neglected, known as an art for the privileged and well-trained, not as the birthright of all of us, in the studio and on the street.
That’s changing now. Dance is returning to its primal roots of rhythm and hot blood. It is blossoming into newer, more stunning, kinds of expression. Whether one looks at ballet, or modern dance, there is more technical virtuosity, more styles, more dancers.
In 1969, you could study dance in Chapel Hill either at Bounds Studio, or in a physical education class. A glance at the listing of dance classes in this section shows how that’s changed.
What’s happened in Chapel Hill is characteristic of the rest of the country. Why? For one, financially-pressed dance companies have had to venture beyond the big cities for audiences and money. (Not long ago, the San Francisco Ballet sent ballerinas out onto the streets with their bars to practise, and perform, for tossed quarters.) Thus, the phenomenon of the dance touring companies, and the trend away from avant-garde sophistication. What plays in the city doesn’t necessarily go over in the suburbs. It all seems for the best, though. Dancers are losing some of their pretenses, and learning that New York magic isn’t the only kind.
Another reason may be that Americans are paying more attention to their bodies, learning that beauty is not a stereotyped ideal but a precious individual quality. Any body is beautiful. Anybody can rejoice in its beauty through dance.
Yet another reason that those who’ve had extensive training are staying in the Triangle is simply that there are others to dance with now. Although the Triangle doesn’t have its own full-time, self-supporting dance troupe, the New Performing Dance Company comes close. And some of the University performances are of near-professional quality. There are also dancers like Carol Verner, who focus not on performance virtuosity but on dance as a way for people to feel good about themselves, to let themselves go and dance the impulses that spring from within.
Most performances and classes are “modern.” Everyone shys away from defining modern dance, but most would agree that a beginning dancer can feel more easily fulfilled with modern, since technical expertise may be less important than an ability to improvise movement and move fluidly. Technique can be learned. It’s largely a matter of developing strength and flexibility. Modern dance is personal dance — the self is the frontier, movement the means of discovery. Often, a style develops around the personality of one strong dancer or an entire group.
Dance is using more theatrics. Sounds, the voice, and props are becoming more noticeable in Triangle performances. It seems to be campier, too. Costumes are coming back.
What about music? UNC-Chapel Hill, for instance, is not using live music in its November performance because it’s difficult for dancers and musicians to rehearse together. Music is taped. At a live performance, there’s also the possibility of tempo change, which would be catastrophic for a tightly-memorized choreography. But several attempts have been made to dance with choreography that is loose and flexible and thus leaves room for improvisation on the stage, such as the Duke Dance performances with live music.
How do the Triangle groups support themselves? The university groups breathe easily; neither Duke nor the UNC dance departments worry about continuing but, rather, about expanding to accomodate the ever-growing interest in dance as a legitimate university degree. The New Performing Company gets by with class and performance money and a few donations. But there is always the worry about survival. Robert Lindgren of the North Carolina Dance Theatre says that all dance troups are a step away from disaster. Grants run out, audiences can be fickle. But struggle, he suggests, forges the artistic temperment.
Do the dance troupes compete with each other, for dancers, or public attention, or performance dates? The overwhelming spirit is one of cooperation and shared concern for the growth of dance.
A beginner may be intimidated by the number and type of classes. That’s all right. They’re generally cheap, several are free (such as clogging and International Folk). There’s room to play around and experiment. And when one becomes serious, the playing around and experimenting really begin.
The Bob Jones Dance Company has a new home with the Pocket Theatre at The St. Joseph Performance Center on Fayetteville Road in Durham. Phyllis Ledbetter is the main instructor. 883-9641. 804 Fayetteville St., Durham.
Bounds Studio offers classes in tap, jazz, modern, and ballet. The heaviest concentration is in ballet for pre-school through adult. The pre-ballet classes for toddlers, which serve as an introduction to rhythm, are followed by graded ballet classes, and those who aren’t serious don’t remain for long. Bounds offers perhaps the most professional training in this area other than the School of the Arts. However, most students take classes several times a week, rather than the two or three sessions a day required by the professional ballet dancer. 942-1088. 121 Estes Drive, Chapel Hill.
Carolina Dancers (UNC-Chapel Hill Physical Education Dept.) is the performing arm of the UNC dance classes. It’s not truly a company since there have been no formal auditions or commitments to regular performances. (The UNC Dance Theatre folded last year because it tried to do too much too soon. The Carolina Dancers are building their strength patiently). There will be a performance in November and a chance for newcomers to join in January. There are two new, well-respected teachers at the university — Carol Richards and Diane Elber. Classes are offered in modern, ballet, improvisation, repertory, and choreography. Liz Rodgers teaches a class once a week. Classes may be audited with permission of the instructor. 933-2261. Woman’s gym. UNC-Chapel Hill.
Dance Associates is a group of afficionados, enthusiasts and amateurs who want to encourage dance in the Triangle. It sponsors “A Day for Dancing” twice a year at which people can learn many techniques from different teachers gathered in one location together; choredrama performances for children; dance films and panel discussions; newsletters on monthly dance activities; classes by local and visiting dancers; and lecture demonstrations and performances by local troupes for the schools. They also have their own professional dance group, The New Performing Dance Company. Membership is $8.00 and includes the Durham Arts Council, and the Dance Associates newsletter. Nancy Thompson. 489-8989. 810 Proctor St., Durham.
Duke Dance tries to provide a performing outlet for Duke students and the community. Through the Continuing Education Department at Duke, anyone can take classes at The Ark on East Campus, the splendid, airy home of Duke Dance. There are no auditions. Members are recruited from classes. Next semester, there will be a dancer-in-residence and next year, Duke may offer a major in dance. Suzanne White teaches dance and choreographs for Duke Dance. She teaches Eric Hawkins’ modern dance technique to her advanced students, and various other modern techniques to her intermediate classes. 684-6393.
The Easy Moving Company was formed in 1975 as a resident Raleigh dance troupe. There are five dancers and their home is at the Theatre In the Park at the NCSU campus, but they’re not affiliated with the University. The company is available for residencies and performances in pre-schools, grade schools, and colleges. No expansion is planned, but they’re on the lookout for good dancers and an apprenticeship program may be set up. Betsy Rowland. 1636 Dixie Trail, Raleigh, N.C. 27607 782-4677.
This list is not meant to comprehensive. It doesn’t include all the studios, or all the instructors. But there’s enough here to get you started. Also, as this is a highly transient area, some of the teachers listed may not be teaching next year. Best to make a few calls and ask.
Eurhythmy is taught by Eve Olive at the Art School in Carrboro and the Durham Arts Council. It is a dance discipline which makes visible that which is normally audible. Mrs. Olive calls it visible speech and visible song. The idea is that there is gesture within the sounds of our language which can be objectively discovered. One sees a story or a poem performed. Each of the elements of music — the rhythm, the intensity, the pitch of a note — can be expressed, too. It’s not dancing to the music but dancing the music. Mrs. Olive was trained in Switzerland and New York and gave a performance last year at Duke Chapel with her class. Eurhythmy is based on the work of Rudolph Steiner, the Austrian philosopher who developed a spiritual science called anthroposophy (the wisdom of man.) Eve Olive. 489-2564.
Loblolly is for people who aren’t dancers but like the thrill of movement. It began at the USA-USSR track meet in Durham three years ago, when Synergy (see Synergy) staged its first multi-media performance. The idea then was to provide the opportunity for non-professionals to study dance and have some fun. With support from Duke and the Durham Arts Council, the group will stage performances this year and set up troupe residencies to make weekly trips into the community to expose more people to dance. Vicki Patton. 684-6116. c/o President’s Office, Duke University.
Morning Light Dance classes, taught by Carol Verner at the Art School in Carrboro, began at the end of October. The lessons begin with a color meditation. Emphasis is placed on the breath. The music she uses is sometimes classical, sometimes Indian, and sometimes there’s just clapping. Carol says, “Each of us has our own qualities to lend to the impulses of pure energy. Every dance shines a light on who we are becoming. Be we aware or unaware, the revelation of life dances eternally within each heart.” The Art School in Carrboro. 942-2041.
The New Performing Dance Company has a spacious three-studio home at Five Points in Durham and offers beginning through advanced classes in ballet, modern, creative movement, jazz and tap. There are forty company members. Auditions are held twice a year and there’s a large turnover. There are only twelve core members, but every year there is, in effect, a new company. Thus the name. New Performing dancers practice nearly all weekend, every weekend, and are required to take two classes a week. They range in age from sixteen to thirty-five, and there are six men. Performances are $2.00 or less. 688-1138 or 493-2296. 105½ W. Main, Durham.
The North Carolina Dance Theatre was created with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to meet the need for a professional dance troupe in the state. Before its creation several years ago, dancers trained at the School of the Arts usually left North Carolina. The Dance Theatre has also been given money by the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. It has toured throughout the state, as well as Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. The company is trained in Russian and American ballet and modern dance, basically Martha Graham techniques. Their strength, according to Director Robert Lingren, is that the dancers don’t become attached to a particular style. That may also be the company’s weakness as a performing group. They don’t have a definite personality, and the turnout for the Raleigh and Durham performances last month was disappointing. N.C. School of the Arts. Box 12189. Winston Salem. N.C. 27101. 784-7170. Robert Lingren.
The Raleigh Dance Community, Inc. is Raleigh’s counterpart to Dance Associates in Durham and Chapel Hill. Each year the group focuses on a different type of dance. Last year it was creative dance for children. Membership costs $10, which entitles one to attend any of the community workshops for 50 cents, and receive the monthly newsletter. The newsletter is available separately for $3 from Mrs. Mary Cochran, 2009 Nakooma Place, Raleigh, N.C. 27607. 787-8465.
The Synergic Foundation for the Arts (Synergy) is, according to David Manning, as experimental arts collective which seeks to deal with ideas directly at their source and then synthesize these ideas into presentations which generally result in new art forms.
Synergy’s next manifestation will be a major performance next February in Baldwin Auditorium on Duke’s East Campus. The performance will feature a dance choreographed around the onstage construction of “Pipe Dreams,” the latest work of sculptor Frank Smullen; “Rescue,” an experimental dance/film/theatre work conceived by dancer and choreographer Suzanne White; “One God, Two Me, Three You and Four Dimensions,” a one-act multimedia play written by author and filmwriter David Manning; a lobby display where the audience can talk to each other through the use of mannikins with TV monitor heads, created by audio/visual producer Robert Chapman; and a light sculpture conceived by musician and costume designer Didi Pearce. In a partially overlapping projects, students will receive independent study credit through the dance program at Duke University. Basically, what our project involves is taking people from the community who have creative interests and working together to mold a presentation that is written, choreographed, designed, scored, recorded, developed and performed entirely from local resources. Suzanne White, David Manning, Didi Pearce. The Ark. 684-6393 or 489-5686.
Sufi Dances are held in Chapel Hill every other Sunday on Franklin Street, across from Baskin and Robbins. Dervish dances have been a tradition within the Moslem religion for hundreds of years, but Sam Lewis, an American Sufi master, developed a simplified version of the dances, with chanting, singing, and movement in a circle. Stewart Walker of Chapel Hill learned them in Atlanta and teaches them here. Check the notice boards at the Somethyme Restaurant and Bob’s Ice Cream.
Also: Joan Trias, who created a cult in Chapel Hill with her Breathing Earth Dance Technique, is now teaching in California. Dot Silver, the choreographer who helped the UNC Dance Theatre so much, is now teaching at UNC-G but still living in Chapel Hill.
Social dancing has definitely come back. Disco-boogie is big, though barely mentioned here. These dances originate in black culture. More on this perhaps in a future issue.
University of North Carolina is holding its biannual Fine Arts Festival next March. Several performing groups have been suggested, but topping the list is Meredith Monk and Co. So far only $1000 can be put up for a Monk residency. She would come alone, for one day, at that price. But for $4500 she’ll bring her 13-member company and hold a four day residency with master classes. If you have money or if you’re interested in helping raise some, call Alma at 942-2561 or Robin Hanes at 933-1013.
Sue Ann Solem was the choreographer and organizer of the Icarus production last summer in Chapel Hill. The dancing wasn’t of a high caliber technically, but the program was a pleasure. Sue Ann is now teaching movement classes at the Durham Arts Academy.
|Ballroom:||Arthur Murray||2100 Hillsborough St.||833-8681|
|Children dance||Pat Borden||489-9643|
|Bea Edkins||Lakewood YMCA, Durham||967-2102|
|Eve Olive||Mt. Sanai Rd., Durham||489-2564|
|Clogging:||Dale Hardy||Apple Chill Cloggers||968-9010|
|Annette Nix||Piedmont Cloggers,||477-5398|
|502 Latta Rd., Durham|
|Eastern:||Neither Akido nor Tai Chi Chuan are dances. They are Japanese and Chinese systems of movement, respectively, both forms of martial art originally.|
|Aikido of N.C.||345 W. main, Durham|
|Tai Chi Chuan,||The Yoga Place, Chapel Hill|
|Ethnic:||African dance, in the vein of Chuck Davis|
|Folk:||Peter Blake,||1800 Shelton Rd., Durham||489-0660|
|Israeli dance||Hillel Foundation, 210 W.||943-4057|
|Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill|
|Robin McWilliam,||17 Old East, UNC||968-9095|
|Modern:||Jane Wellford||Elon College||563-5162|
|November||3||Easy Moving Co.||Meredith College8:00 p.m.||8:00 p.m.|
|6||“A Midsummer Night’s||Quad Flicks, Duke||7:00 and|
|Dream“ NYC Ballet film.||(:00 p.m.|
|7||“Midsummer“ matinee||3:00 p.m.|
|10-12||Birmingham Ballet||Page Auditorium, Duke||*;15|
|15, 16||Duke Dance||Page Auditorium, Duke||TBA|
|19, 20||Carolina Dancers||Great Hall,||8:17 p.m.|
|“The Late Great Hall||UNC|
|27||New Performing Co.||Page Auditorium||matinee, TBA|
|29, 30||New Performing Co.||Page Auditorium||evening, TBA|
|December||3, 4, 5||“A Day for Dancing“||Theatre in the Park||8:00|
|Easy Moving Co.||Pullen Park, NCSU|
|TBA||Auditions for New Performing Co.|
|TBA||Auditions for Carolina Dancers|
|20||New Performing Co.||Memorial Hall||8:00|
|7-12||Philobus||UNC, Duke NCSU|
|16-18||Sounds in Motion||NC Central Univ.||8:15|
|24-26||Houston Ballet||Reynolds Coleseum,|
|25, 26, 27||Easy Moving Co.||TBA|
|TBA||“A Day for Dance,“||Durham|
|Sponsored by the|
|April||2-9||Lotte Goslar’s Mime||UNC, Duke, Raleigh|
|Summer||Loblolly||The Ark, Duke|
|N.C. Arts Council||Donna Atwood||Dept. of Cultural Resources||829-5896|
|“N.C. Dance“||Linda Warren||State Dept. of Public Instruction||829-7467|
|(program of residencies||Cultural Affairs Division|
|in the schools)||Raleigh 27611|
|N.C. School of||P.O.Box 12189, Winston salem||784-7170|
|Triangle Dance Guild||Karen Edwards,||6124 St. Giles Drive, Raleigh||ticket and membership info:|
|Durham Arts||Jim McIntyre||810 Proctor St., Durham 27702||Adriana Ciompi||ballet||682-5519|
|Betsy Rowland||creative moevment|
|Sue Ann Solem||creative moevment|
|Orange Co. Arts||Ed Bowland||300 W. Tryon St. Hillsborough||Mary Ann &||Renaissance||732-8181|
|Pittsboro Arts||Avis Autrey||Rt. 3, Box 75, Pittsboro 27312||542-2353|
|Raleigh Arts||Jo Creisimore||3720 Williamborough Ct.||787-1573|
|The Art School||150 E. Main, Carrboro 27510||Carol Verner||modern||942-2041|
|Carolina School||Fred Sanders||408 Weaver, Carrboro 27510||942-2820|
|Chapel Hill||Umstead Dr. C.H.||929-1611|
|Chapel Hill/||Spring Lane||Liz Miller||belly||929-8104|
|Carolina Dance||Lakewood Shopping Center||Cameron Dancy||belly, ballet||489-1416|
|Durham Rec.||Arts and Crafts, Erwin Aud.||Annie Matthews||ballroom||688-2021|
|Godwin Dance||706 9th St., Durham||gym, ballet||286-4711|
|Central YMCA||Trinity Ave., Durham||Janet Diamond||folk||682-0313|
|House of Dance||Karen Edwards||6124 St. Giles Dr., Raleigh||ballet||782-0622|
|Raleigh Civic Ballet||Walter Stroud||406 Downtown Blvd, Raleigh||ballet||833-8440|
|and Raleigh School|
|of Dance Arts|
|Raleigh Rec. Dept.||Arts and Crafts, 2401 Wade Ave.||755-6640|
|YMCA of Raleigh, Inc.||1601 Hillsborough St., Raleigh||832-6601|