The Lander Dance Company will grace the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center stage for their first concert of the 2010-11 Fine Arts Performance season Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 16-17, at 8 p.m. Under the direction of 1990 Lander graduate and adjunct instructor of dance Joey Giles, the Lander Dance Company is working hard to prepare for their exciting season debut.
Much of this hard work is being channeled into honoring alums who have been a part of the Lander dance program over the years. One of these alums is Class of 1967 graduate Dolly Rush Bailey, who, after graduating, started a dance school in the community, through which she taught hundreds of dancers and several Lander dancers. Program director Giles was one of her students.
"One of my high school friends talked me into taking classes with Dolly," said Giles. "I worked all summer long to pay for my first dance lessons and after a year I was obsessed with it."
In his junior year of high school Giles' connection with Bailey opened up an opportunity for him to perform with the Lander Dance Company. "That was my first encounter with Carol Neubner who was the Company director at the time," he said. "She also taught Dolly. I started working with Lander dancers from then on. This experience inspired my dance career, which continued throughout my time at Lander and after I graduated."
In fact, after Neubner retired, Giles took over instruction for the Lander dance program. And he has now been working with the Lander dance program off and on for almost 30 years.
So, in honor of Bailey, the one who started him down this path, Giles has included a piece by Khalil Gibran, titled "The Prophet," which Bailey, herself, choreographed while Giles was studying under her in high school.
"It's just a beautiful piece," said Giles. "We lost Dolly a few years ago to cancer and she influenced so many people. So, I thought it would be good to bring something back that she did. She was a true leader in keeping dance going in the community."
This piece will be performed by Lander's Dance 101 students, but the concert contains so much more for audience members to enjoy. The concert will not only feature pieces choreographed by Giles, it will feature student choreography as well. Performance music will include songs by the cast of Glee, Sweet Honey and the Rock, and M.C. Hammer.
For further information, contact the College of Arts and Humanities at 864-388-8323.