The Columbia College Dance Company (CCDC) is the “hub” of the Dance Department. It provides a vehicle for community-building and for the development of leadership, artistry, and dance production skills. The CCDC is made up of dance majors and faculty liaisons.
Upon entering the dance program, majors become members of the CCDC, which operates as a for-credit course each semester. Members attend weekly meetings in addition to participating in all scheduled CCDC events throughout the academic year.
The students elect a working Board of Directors and follow the constitution as a formal student organization at Columbia College. The CCDC works closely with the dance faculty and is responsible for providing all technical components necessary to produce dance performances.
CCDC choreographers produce works for To-Go Shows and the Fall and Spring Choreographers’ Showcases. Yearly functions include mentoring freshman/transfer majors, coordinating open auditions, Open House Weekend, Senior Banquet, space requests, community outreach, recruitment programs, and fundraising events.
All dance majors attend an annual production skills seminar, as well as training sessions for specialized production roles (e.g., sound and light board operation). The seminar introduces the dancer/choreographer to the technical director and outlines production protocol for the performance space. Included in the seminar is a tour of the space, discussion of the various job descriptions for each technical area, and an introduction to the vocabulary needed to improve communication between artists and technicians. Production roles include stage manager, stage crew, house manager, ushers, sound operator, technical preparation/pre-production crew, producer, and wardrobe manager.
Choreographic residencies with guest artists are offered at least once per year. These residencies are a high priority for the education of each student.
Typically the guest choreographer is in residence for one to two weeks. Guest artists of national prominence who have set their work on our student dancers include BeBe Miller, Laura Dean, Blondell Cummings, Creach/Koester, Rachael Lampert, Liz Lerman, David Dorfman, Sean Curran, Nicholas Leichter, 1*4*8 The Collective, Paloma McGregor, Lisa Wheeler, Charles Flacks, Celeste Miller, Mark Haim, and Lori May. All majors are expected to audition for the guest artists' pieces and to fully participate as a cast member, if chosen.
In 2000, Professor Martha Brim founded The Power Company, a professional contemporary dance collective in residence at Columbia College. The Power Company provides a professional body to maintain and support some of contemporary dance’s most current choreography and initiates interdisciplinary creative projects, while offering community education experiences. The Power Company is directed by Columbia College dance professor Martha Brim. In exchange for Columbia College space and staff assistance, The Power Company shares artistic and organizational experiences with the dance majors and the Columbia College community.
The Power Company/Columbia College partnership offers the following attributes:
- Brings a professional level of artistic activity to campus life.
- Offers opportunities of working with a professional level performance company to Columbia College’s faculty, students, and alumnae.
- Demonstrates the college’s commitment to the arts and reflects growth of the dance department’s previous presenting activity, i.e. SoSoHo Performance Series since 1987.
- SoSoHo/The Power Company partnership is the dance department’s infusion of the professional world for student recruitment, faculty development, alumnae resources, student professional preparation, and serves as an educational umbrella for South Carolina audiences, educators and artists.
- A conduit between the college and community by involving community leaders as board members and partners in special projects.
- An archival body to preserve the commissioned works for the education of future college dance majors.
- An educational body to be used as an enhancement to the dance education network already in place at the college and across the state.
Anyone, including dance majors and alumnae, may formally audition for this professional company.
A Process for Formal Presentation and Finished Student Works
Each semester the Columbia College Dance Company (CCDC) is responsible for presenting the works selected by the faculty for the Choreographer’s Showcase. The leadership of CCDC expects fall production technical assistance, costumes, publicity, and external communication. The producers are responsible for all coordination between CCDC, technical director, box office, and dance faculty.
Fall Choreography Showcase works are considered for spring tours, presentations at the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), and presentation at the South Carolina Dancing Conference (SCDA). Spring Choreography Showcase works are considered for fall tours and presentation in Kaleidoscope at the South Carolina Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Conference (SCAHPERD).
A Process for Improving Artistry
Each semester, dance majors sign up for informal showings, or To-Go Shows. These showings are offered two to three times each semester. The choreographer receives peer and faculty feedback. The student may sign up for as many To-Go Shows for feedback on as many works-in-progress as she likes. Feedback emphasis is placed on the educational process for the student choreographer. Discussion first centers on those aspects of the choreography, which are successful and then moves to suggestions for improving the work.
The To-Go Show process, including the discussions, is open to all students majoring in dance who have completed the course DAN 206: Choreography I. Every dance major is strongly encouraged to attend every To-Go Show. The faculty, along with the CCDC executive board's input, ultimately chooses those finished student works, which are deemed appropriate for the Fall and Spring Choreographer’s Showcase.