The Piccolo Spoleto Dance at Noon Series closed out the festival with shows from a variety of companies from throughout Georgia and South Carolina.
The series opened last Monday with the Sumter Civic Dance Company. Two modern dance pieces, “Say” and “Crayola,” were exceptional, featuring expressive movements and fluid, beautiful choreography from some of the company’s strongest dancers. The club kid-inspired dance, “Wobble Baby,” featured their youngest dancers bursting with sass. We were left with some “Riverdance” and “Dancing on the Ceiling” tap numbers, which seemed puzzling, especially to the tweens performing. Only a few dancers in the front seemed to remember the steps, while the rest just watched.
Tuesday brought Kennesaw’s Great Gig Dance Ensemble to the Footlight Players Theatre. The teen dancers had dreamy big-budget costumes and a program they seemed to love performing. They channeled their inner Grace Potters in “Paris (Ooh La La)” as they each seductively bit one of their gloves off to end the dance. The choreography was fresh and fun in “Glitter in the Air.” And who doesn’t love a good glitter shower in a dance piece to a Pink song? The gorgeous duet to “Falling Slowy” left at least this audience member teary and moved.
Sideways Contemporary Dance presented a sophisticated, hour-long, cohesive piece of modern dance called “Breaking Bounds.” This strong, Atlanta-based professional company of dancers seemed evenly matched in their talent and they moved together like silent kindred spirits. The first three dances seemed to loosely interpret themes from the book Cold Mountain, as “Down to the River to Pray” led into Jack White’s old-time version of “Sittin on Top of the World” and then “My Ain’ True Love.” Themes jumped to ’60s counterculture in the surprising hippie dosing dance to Timothy Leary’s “Trip: The Turn On.”
Dancentre South Company’s mix of jazz, tap, and ballet brought a big crowd for a program that started with some “Burlesque.” In “Funkytown,” the tap dancers wore black leather motorcycle jackets with neon tutus and black fishnet stockings. The ballet, “Corridors,” was truly breathtaking and featured highly original choreography. The final dance was unforgettable, for several reasons; a line of beautiful girls did a tap dance called “Poultry in Motion” wearing chicken costumes and dancing to a medley of chicken songs, like “There Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens.”
The Robert Ivey Ballet dazzled on Saturday. A group of exquisite ballerinas performed “Tchaikovsky’s Serenede” and “Tarantella” to Ivey’s original choreography. Stunning Balanchine-like formations of dancers looked as dreamy as a Degas painting. The male dancers were powerful, graceful, and capable of jaw-dropping leaps. From a modern dance to music from Amelie to an excellent jazz piece, “Cell Block Tango from Chicago,” the company truly shined. As a tribute to Mr. Ivey, who is the artistic director of the whole long-running Dance at Noon series and has been ill during the festival, Piccolo Spoleto presented the company with a special honor and framed plaque for his 30-plus years of shaping the arts scene in Charleston.