Carolina Ballet Theatre’s 2017-18 Season Seeks out Ballet Newbies
By Ariel Turner
On the heels of its most successful season in 45 years, Carolina Ballet Theatre’s 2017-18 season announcement reflects the company’s continued effort to appeal to a wider demographic than the traditional dance community.
“We are very interested in spreading the word and seeing dance elevated in Greenville,” says CBT board president Marie Blough. “Greenville is a little behind in interpreting dance, especially ballet. This season is a little something for everyone.”
The 2017-18 season includes three professional shows at the Peace Center: “Snow White: The Ballet,” “The Nutcracker: Once Upon a Time in Greenville,” and “The School of Hard Rocks,” along with several smaller vignettes that are fashioned around important causes, such as Black History Month, mental health reform, and cancer awareness.
To broaden its appeal in 2016-17, the CBT season included cameo appearances by former Clemson University quarterback Tajh Boyd and “The Voice” alum Delvin Choice, along with guest artists from prominent ballet companies. The result: multiple sold-out performances and a boost in ticket sales from the previous year.
And that increased revenue has allowed the company to employ three full-time dancers for the 2017-18 season, Martin Justo-Bernardez, Laura Mortimer, and Meghan Loman.
Blough says this is the first time CBT has been financially able to employ full-time dancers, which will allow the company to engage in more year-round community outreach, possibly even pop-up performances at schools and public locations.
Harnessing the momentum of the past season, the 2017-18 season will also include guest dancers, yet to be announced.
“Snow White: The Ballet” opens the season, Sept. 29–30. Blough describes the work as “dark and comedic,” involving mystery and intrigue. The role of wicked queen/stepmother is danced by a male dancer, while the seven dwarves provide the comedic relief, Blough says.