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Annex Dance Company premieres new work at Piccolo Spoleto Festival

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Credit: DJ Connor

Press Release

Annex Dance Company returns to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival with a performance at Society Hall featuring Laura Ball (piano) and Rachael Kistler Igo (violin) on June 5th, 2022. The concert of company repertory will include the premiere of Hover, with an original score by Ball and created in collaboration with Leslie Alexander (visual artist) and Janine McCabe (costume designer). There will be performances at 3 pm and 5 pm and a reception for patrons to meet-and-greet with the company and collaborators between the shows. Tickets are available for $18/$15(students) at tickets.annexdancecompany.org.

The premiere of Hover has been a focused project for the company since the start of the season. Artistic Director Kristin Alexander has collaborated with Leslie Alexander, Laura Ball, and Janine McCabe on projects in the past, but typically there has been an existing piece of work as the point of inspiration. Together with associate artistic director Julie Clark, the collaborators met via Zoom for a brainstorming session.

“Our first meeting started with a blank slate,” Alexander said. “I wanted the five of us to be able to communicate ideas and allow the piece to take its authentic direction.”

Words like suspended, hesitate, linger, and pivot helped shape the beginning of the creative process, and over the next few months the artists shared movement, music, color, and design. All aspects of the work have influenced one another.

“I hope the audience will find moments of the music in the movement of the costume, the artwork in the pathways and spatial patterns of the choreography, and the deep connection between the performers,” said Alexander.

Also included in the concert are two past collaborations with Ball: Bernice and an excerpt from Trinity. Bernice was created when Alexander was invited to collaborate with poet Steve Myers on a project entitled Arts/graft: American Community in the Understory. Former colleagues at DeSales University (PA), their collaborative partnership was instrumental to Alexander’s investigation of poetry and movement in the early years of Annex Dance Company.

“When I moved the company to Charleston in 2010, I knew it would be difficult to continue collaborating with Steve,” Alexander said. “Because of our friendship and artistic relationship, I immediately said ‘yes’ to working with him on a new piece for Arts/graft.”

Myers sent Alexander a number of poems, and she selected ‘Bernice’, a poem about his wife’s maternal grandmother. To further the collaboration, Alexander commissioned Ball to create an original composition to accompany the new work. Bernice premiered in 2017 at DeSales University, and this concert marks the first time Alexander and Ball will be performing the work together.

Trinity, which premiered at the 2017 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, was inspired by the sights and sounds of our Holy City. Ball created abstract arrangements of recognizable compositions from American composers Henry Cowell, Charles Ives, and Samuel Barber with all of the music derived from hymn melodies and sacred text. Alexander’s choreography was influenced by both the original and abstracted versions of the works. Originally created for three musicians and three dancers, a solo excerpt from the full-length work will be presented in this concert accompanied by Ball and Rachael Kistler Igo, who also performed in the 2017 premiere.

This concert of modern dance and music will be presented in the ballroom of Society Hall at 72 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401. The company will utilize the entire space of this historic building with Leslie Alexander’s series of Hover paintings displayed and the reception for patrons between concerts from 3:45 – 4:45 PM. Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.annexdancecompany.org and at the door.

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