The Charleston Ballet Theatre may have fallen off the stage, but dance is far from dead in the Holy City. DanceFX’s Charleston Dance Project is hosting their second original full-length dance concert this week, and it’s all about having fun.
The show is called Funktionslust (funk-shuns-loost), a German word that essentially refers to the pleasure of doing something. The tagline: Finding a way through play. Created by Sara Cart, DanceFX founder Jenny Broe, and former CBT dancer Stephanie Bussell, the show includes three acts that look at play at different stages of life and why it’s so important to our survival. Cart came up with the concept while reading a book called Free Play by Stephen Nachmanovitch that looks at play and improvisations in life and art. “It talks about how to be really creative you have to find your inner child and learn to play on a day-to-day basis,” Cart says. “You can only survive in life through playing, or else you would be so serious you’d be miserable.”
Twenty-five dancers will perform in the show, including a few guest artists. And you can expect a healthy dose of audience participation, too. “We wanted to make it more of an arena for everyone to play together, a playground within a theater,” Cart says. “I’ve never experienced that in a theater, and it’s something we’ve been toying with for a long time. We want audience to feel that they’re in the same environment as the dancers.” They’re employing a mostly modern dance approach with hints of jazz and even ballet. “It involves an aspect of every type of dance,” she says. “The audience can expect a very versatile but playful show with a hint of a dark moment,” Cart says. “It’s something we wanted to do because we are embarking on this professional season, and we wanted to prove that professional doesn’t mean so serious of a concept, so I would say it’s bright and light-hearted and playful.”
After the success of last season, Cart says they decided to work toward making the Charleston Dance Project a more professional company with original concepts and choreography. “We realized we had people who wanted this to be their life and career,” she says. “The time that it takes for us to produce the product that we do, it should be their full time job, but most of our dancers have a job and come here [afterward].” She says they’re working on applying for more funding so it can be full-time.
Besides Funktionslust, the company is staying busy this season with a performance concert series at the School of the Arts and a full roster of classes for all ages. They’ll also be making a historic appearance at the Spoleto Festival USA in the Italian operas Le Villi and Mese Mariano — it’s not often that local companies are invited to take part in the festival.