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Emanuel: Love is the Answer at FAC April 4

Posted: March 23, 2017 5:21 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Photo by Concannon Photography/

Ballerina Amanda Summery.

The Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County will present Emanuel: Love is the Answer an original multimedia ballet produced by the Columbia City Ballet (CCB) on Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. This world premiere performance, choreographed and directed by William Starrett, is dedicated to the memory of Fred Sheheen, long-time supporter of both the FAC and the CCB. Tickets are $25 and available by phone at 425-7676, at the FAC box office at 810 Lyttleton St. in Camden or online at www.fineartscenter.org. Stop by a little early and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar during the opening of a new exhibition in the Bassett Gallery, Form & Flow by J. Michael McGuirt starting at 5:30 p.m. Emanuel: Love is the Answer is sponsored by KershawHealth, the S.C. Arts Commission, along with additional support by Mr. and Mrs. John Shaylor and other individuals.

 Emanuel: Love is the Answer is a new, full-length, multimedia ballet which expresses spiritual messages of healing and racial harmony in the aftermath of the senseless tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Supporting themes of transcendence and forgiveness, Emanuel pays homage to the indomitable human spirit.

 The ballet will include healing messages from our political and spiritual leaders of the present and past, from the Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark, Pastor of Emanuel A.M.E. Church; Dr. Martin Luther King; John F. Kennedy; Maya Angelou; the Dali Lama; and Deepak Chopra. 

Starretts' hope is to connect the dots he sees artistically between this shocking event and the lessons learned from the tragedy which can be used to transcend prejudice and celebrate unity and forgiveness, he said. “Through dance, music, and other media, Emanuel will help us see how we are more alike than different,” Starrett said. “As a result of its messages of forgiveness, kindness, love and understanding, the ballet will help us come together in peace. Promoting inclusiveness, the art will unite us as we embrace all that we can achieve together.” 

Starrett said he is hopeful that this work can become a national expression of the everlasting power of the lives of these South Carolinians. 

The music behind the dance will include Ava Maria, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, The Lords' Prayer, Hero: Rise Up, Imagine: Love in Any Language, The Greatest Love of All, How Great Thou Art, You'll Never Walk Alone, Spirit in the Sky, Tears in Heaven and Bring Him Home. Starrett is working with local professionals on the multimedia portion of the ballet and has secured the assistance of one of Hollywood’s hottest young film directors, Kim Rocco Shields, to do the final editing of the multimedia elements of the production.

William Starrett is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and community leader. As CCB’s director and primary choreographer for the past 29 years, he has created or staged more than 50 works -- including 19 original, full-length ballets, nine classical full-length ballets and 17 original narrated one-act ballets for children -- in locations throughout the United States and Europe. CCB’s Educational Outreach Program, which he implemented in 1989, has introduced ballet to more than half a million schoolchildren in the Southeast.

 He is the co-owner of Columbia Conservatory of Dance with Ballet Mistress Mariclare Miranda. In 2002, Starrett was honored by South Carolina's governor with the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award for achievement in the arts. Starrett is the official arts correspondent for WACH Fox News and the host of the weekly Arts WACH with William, a segment of WACH Fox News Good Day that airs Thursday mornings and gives an in-depth look at unique visual and performing arts events in the Midlands.

(The FAC is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by the City of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals.)

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