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The Schoolhouse, 720 Magnolia Rd., Charleston, SC
Sunday, December 8, 2019, 4 – 5pm

“Annex Dance Company continues their Fall collaboration with The Power Company Collaborative of Columbia, SC on December 8, 2019 with a 4pm performance of THE RED SUITCASE at The Schoolhouse, 720 Magnolia Rd, Charleston, SC 29407. Kristin Alexander, Annex Artistic Director and choreographer, created THE RED SUITCASE three years ago in response to Lowcountry artist Mary Walker’s collaborative traveling exhibition, also entitled The Red Suitcase, which includes work from eleven different artists from all over the country. This immersive, interdisciplinary work of movement and storytelling has been a mainstay in the Annex repertoire. In the spirit of the suitcase, Columbia dancers from The Power Company Collaborative, an experimental modern dance collective, as well as Charleston-based actor and longtime collaborator Evan Parry are performing with Annex. Tickets are priced at $18 for adults and $15 for students, and can be purchased online at tickets.annexdancecompany.org.

THE RED SUITCASE premiered during the 2016 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, almost three years after Walker had originally discussed her idea of a travelling art exhibition presented in a vintage suitcase. “I was immediately drawn to Mary’s idea of work by different artists being displayed in something so compact, like a suitcase,” states Alexander. Having collaborated with Walker in the past, Alexander was intrigued by the challenge of so many pieces of art influencing her own creative process in choreographing one cohesive concert. The content of each box in the suitcase is different from the next, and the movement vocabulary, music choice, and number of dancers in the corresponding section of choreography reflects the diversity of the artwork, while still finding similar themes and shapes.

Since its premiere, Alexander has been hoping THE RED SUITCASE would have an element of travel in exhibition, just like the suitcase. Alexander reached out to Amanda Ling, Associate Director of The Power Company Collaborative (PoCo) about partnering with Annex for the Fall 2019 remount of this production. Although the movement styles of the two companies differ, they share similar values in their approach to the creative process, diversity of programming, and opportunities for pre-professional dancers. Both Alexander and Ling, professors at the College of Charleston and Columbia College respectively, have invited students into the project. “At least once a season I invite students to work and perform with the company. THE RED SUITCASE has been the perfect project for this aspect of our mission, and I am thrilled two students from Columbia College are having this experience with us as well,” says Alexander.

Reflecting on the rehearsal process with PoCo, Alexander says, “I have loved watching the choreography evolve, especially as they have found their own connections with existing movement phrases.” Ling states that, “PoCo is excited to be a part of this collaboration and find it a fulfilling experience for both professional company members and student interns to be interpreting choreographic concepts outside of our typical repertoire. We think it’s important to support the work of local artists and find that collaborative efforts like this build stronger dance and art communities.”

The Fall collaboration of Annex Dance Company and PoCo had two planned performances, October 2019 at the Richland Library Main in Columbia and the upcoming performance at the Schoolhouse. “Two very different venues, opportunities for the companies to connect with new patrons, and more exposure of this incredible traveling exhibit of visual art,” says Alexander. “I am excited to see this project take the next step.”
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About The Red Suitcase: “The Red Suitcase came from an idea about exhibiting the work of artists I know from near and far,” states Mary Walker, suitcase curator and artist. “I am a traveler and this vintage Hartmann suitcase caught my eye in a flea market. It conjured images of exotic journeys to distant lands… [it] was the perfect solution.” Walker divided the suitcase into eleven different sections to create a small, portable exhibition space. David Puls fashioned boxes inside the suitcase to house the art. Hailing from Washington, DC, New York, NY, Rock Hill, SC, McClellanville, SC, and Charleston, SC, the eleven artists included are Lucy Clark, David Higginbotham, Ava Kawano, Shaun Cassidy, Tom Stanley, John McWilliams, Nancy Marshall, Jeff Kopish, Linda Fantuzzo, Kristi Ryba, and Mary Walker. Reflecting on the suitcase Walker states that “each artist approached the exhibit in a different manner, yet, all were mindful that they would send their art off to various latitudes and longitudes, where a new audience would see their creations.”

About Annex Dance Company: Under the artistic direction of Kristin Alexander, Annex Dance Company premiered in November 2007 in Bethlehem, PA. A professional, classical modern dance company, Annex, comprised of five dancers, has been committed to promoting the arts in its home location, as well as around the globe. In 2010, Annex made Charleston, SC its new home, quickly joining the city’s thriving arts community. Annex Dance Company has performed throughout the east coast including Philly Fringe Festival (PA), District Dance Share (DC), STEPS Performance Series (NY), Annual Richmond Choreographers Showcase (VA), Greenville Dance Festival (SC), Charleston Dance Festival (SC), andPiccolo Spoleto Festival (SC). The company works with students in Charleston County Schools through Engaging Creative Minds and spends part of the summer in-residence at Endless Mountains Dance Camp (PA). Through performance, collaboration, and educational outreach, Annex is committed to arts advocacy and opportunities for dancers at all levels, students through professionals. With its 2019-2020 season, Annex Dance Company celebrates 10 years as Charleston’s premier modern dance company.

About The Power Company Collaborative: The Power Company Collaborative (PoCoCo) believes that power can be found in art, dancing, collaboration, and the spirit of each individual. Choreographer, Martha Brim founded The Power Company in 2000 to “embrace the idea of power for all people” using dance as practice and performance. For 19 years thereafter, Brim and PoCoCo members (adding Collaborative to the name in 2012) have further defined that mission with experimental processes in nontraditional venues to embrace empowerment and inclusiveness in their work. The Power Company Collaborative is housed in residence at Columbia College, SC with Associate Director, Amanda Ling, offering internship opportunities for students and interdisciplinary experiences for local artists. The company continues to create installations, workshops, and public art that tap into unique sources of power found with a variety of artists and community partners.

About Mary Walker: Born and raised in Tryon, NC, Mary Walker is a painter and printmaker, who enjoys collaborating with dancers. Though she currently resides in Johns Island, she exhibits regularly in the South and Northeast regions. She is the winner of numerous regional grants and residencies. Her work has been in many exhibitions including the IPCNY Spring/Summer exhibition in New York, the LaGrange National XXVII Exhibition, the Bascom, the Jule Collins Smith Museum in Auburn, the Springfield Art Museum in Missouri, the Manhattan Graphics Center in NY, the University of Hawaii, and book exhibitions in San Nicola, Italy. She is also in several museum and library collections. Walker is represented by the Corrigan Gallery in Charleston, SC and the Julie Heller Gallery in Provincetown, MA.”

Event Type: Dancing, Music
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