Columbia City Ballet’s performance bringing art to life in Off the Wall

Photos provided.

The Columbia City Ballet is preparing to bring back one of their ballet performances that was originally created in 2005. Off the Wall and Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green brings the artist’s Gullah-inspired paintings to life through creative choreography and innovative sets.

Artistic and Executive Director William Starrett created the production after he and Green met at an awards ceremony for the SC Arts Commission. They collaborated to bring Green’s paintings to life through dance.

“It is my sincere hope that the choreography will leave the viewer with the same exhilaration, joy and renewed faith in humanity that I found creating this ballet,” said Starrett.

Green is internationally known for his vibrantly colorful art,  depicting the Gullah culture in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

“I wanted to go back to my roots. The older people were dying and I began to see (the Gullahs) differently. I saw them as a strong people with a strong link, probably the strongest link with Africa of any of the black American people,” said Green. Starrett translates the union of cultural tradiitons and deep spirituality into his show.

There are 22 vignettes based on the artist’s paintings that Starrett has created for the performance. Green’s vibrant colors used in his works are incorporated through backdrops and scrims, multi-media components, more than 150 hand-sewn costumes, and an array of music. The choreography depicts the cultural heritage of the Gullah and Geechee communities depicted in the paintings.

Live vocal performances by gospel singer Marlena Smalls, and the Benedict College Gospel Choir will also sing during the show.

Off The Wall and Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green will be performed March 15, at 7:30 p.m., in the Township Auditorium. Tickets range from $29 to $49 and are available through the Township’s website, or by calling 803-576-2350.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County