It is nearly impossible to hold a conversation about dance in Charleston and not mention Robert Ivey's name. Through his extensive career in the Lowcountry, Ivey has built a core base of shows that are performed nearly every season by his ballet company and are widely anticipated, especially by doting parents. Performed by dancers that are mostly students of Ivey's, the shows are largely family-oriented and attempt to appeal to a wide variety of audience members. The program generally includes On Cat Mountain around Halloween, The Angel Tree at Christmas, Peter and the Wolf in the late winter, and The Velveteen Rabbit early spring.
Ivey has found that he, like others in the arts community, must work to gauge audiences' responses to his productions and work to provide what brings the most people to the theater. For the Robert Ivey Ballet, this means sticking with the classics and compositions that cater to a variety of age groups.
This season has been dubbed a 'Season to Celebrate' by the dance professional and will commemorate the past 32 seasons of performances for the company by bringing back choreographers who "have composed their best things for us." Ivey also said he will be utilizing the faculty from the dance department at the College of Charleston.
"They're not only teachers they are performers and choreographers as well," says Ivey.
One particularly exciting event for the dance veteran is what he is calling the "Big College Performance." Ivey will be organizing dancers in his company, as well as students at CofC, for one large performance. In addition to dance majors, Ivey also will be recruiting students from the design department to produce the set and help with costumes. The show, which will debut in the spring, will be a collaborative effort with multiple disciplines aiding in the final production.
Ivey also will be adding additional teachers and classes to his studio.
"We're doing a lot of different things this year: yoga, musical theater, advanced tap, and exercise tap to augment the ballet classes we do," he says.