For three decades, Greenville Ballet has set the stage for plié practitioners to develop lifelong fitness, learning, and arts appreciation through engaging classes. The schedule of 90-minute adult ballet sessions (a $17 per class value) helps hoofers ease into position once a week, laying a foundation for further studies in bodily expression. Pre-ballet classes (a $13 per class value), offered on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, gift little legs 45 minutes of creative fun each week, teaching basic elements of movement and discipline that can be applied to other activities, such as sports, education, and mastering a perfect teeter-totter landing.
Nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2007, Grey Gardens tells the simultaneously lively and heartbreaking story of Big and Little Edie Bouvier. Set in two acts, the play follows the eccentric and often-dysfunctional duo's descent from the lap of luxury as New York socialites to an isolated existence in a squalid home overrun by feral bands of aristocats. One of few Broadway productions based on a documentary, the musical is inspired by the true story of Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis's aunt and cousin and includes personal songs that explore their complicated mother-daughter relationship. Performances take place downtown in the historic Fountain Inn Civic Center, an intimate 485-seat theater that features chamber concerts, theatrical productions, and partially masked phantoms ready to tear tickets and whisk patrons to their seats.
At Aerial Space, workouts unfold in midair. Practitioners weave through suspended silks, flow through yoga poses supported by hammocks, or practice acrobatic moves on the static trapeze and lyra, a suspended hoop. Aerial Space's aerial circus-arts classes, offered privately and for groups of children and adults, instill equal parts grace, fitness, and newfound skill.
Many dance companies approach ballet from a modern angle. Caroline Calouche prefers a more perpendicular one. When the stage is not enough space for her visions of macabre masquerade balls or surreal dreamscapes, she takes to the air above it, outfitted with a cirque's worth of aerial harnesses and accouterments. Her dancers are just as likely to pirouette down a 20-foot skein of golden silk as across a hardwood floor. Pairs of lovers might hang precariously from the frame of a hollow cube or perform a gravity-defying pas de deux on the double lyra—their suspension above the earth either an expression of freedom or a prison of their own making. Like identifying an elderly smoker's gender over the phone, the airborne element leaves plenty of room for interpretation.
By marrying the storytelling ability of floor-bound choreography with the gravity-defying tricks of circus arts, Caroline Calouche & Co. unleashes the full potential of aerial dance. The company's productions are free to venture to strange new places. For example, in past shows, women have risen from their graves to haunt their murderous husbands. Likewise, the sounds of Moby and Blue Man Group are more likely to be heard than Debussy.
Audience members who want to plqy the ropes and silks for themselves can learn to do so during the dance company's aerial-dance classes, along with a tight curriculum of ballet, contemporary, and stretching and strengthening courses. For all its global influences and aerial showmanship, Caroline Calouche & Co. keeps its feet rooted in the local community with outreach programs for all ages, ethnicities, and social groups.
• For $44, you get two upper-balcony (balcony rows LL–WW) tickets (a $68 value before fees, or up to an $86.30 value online, including all ticketing fees). • For $60, you get two lower-balcony (mezzanine rows AA–KK) tickets (a $97 value before fees, or up to a $116.20 value online, including all ticketing fees).