Melanie Keen is the artistic director for The Dance Arts Studio in Mount Pleasant and established the school’s Encore Dance Theatre in 2008.
The company produces several performances each year, including the “Holiday Spectacular,” which takes the stage at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Sottile Theatre. Keen spoke with the Charleston Scene this week about the performance and her role with the local company.
Q: Since the Dance Arts Studio started its Encore Dance Theatre in 2008, what sorts of productions have you presented in the community?
A: The Dance Arts Studio has presented many productions since we opened in 2002. Each spring we hold a year-end recital, which every dancer at the studio performs.
We perform the “Holiday Spectacular” every year during the holidays to kick off the holiday season.
Encore Dance Theatre performed in Lowcountry Dance Invitational’s inaugural production and will perform again in the 2016 Invitational, to which dance studios and companies are invited to perform.
Encore Dance Theatre also performs in various festivals around Mount Pleasant and surrounding areas, including the Children’s Day Festival, Artfest and the upcoming Lowcountry Christmas at Boone Hall. We have added a Spring Performance to our schedule this season also.
Q: What is the signature style of your productions?
A: The Dance Arts Studio and Encore Dance Theatre focus mainly on classical ballet. Although we teach and perform other styles of dance such as jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical and contemporary, we feel classical ballet is the backbone of it all.
We focus on technique, conditioning and strength in our classes so the dancers are able to perform to the best of their abilities.
Q: What can audiences expect from the latest production, “Holiday Spectacular?”
A: The “Holiday Spectacular”... is sure to get the audience tapping their feet and in the holiday spirit.
Encore Dance Theatre consists of 29 dancers ages 7-18, who perform all styles of dance. Our choreographers also will be performing, as well as three guests of the company.
The show begins Act I with excerpts from “The Nutcracker Suite,” all but the battle scene. Act II rounds out the show with a production number of Christmas classics and contemporary holiday music. The show offers the traditional along with the more contemporary styles of dance.
Q: How is the “Holiday Spectacular” different from other holiday-themed performances in town?
A: The “Holiday Spectacular” is different than other holiday-themed productions because it is more than just the traditional “Nutcracker” that so many other companies perform.
We cover highlights of the ballet and get the story across through our amazing dancers, without performing the entire ballet. This allows us time to showcase our dancers in more styles of dance and to have a very upbeat, fun and energetic ending to the show. Audiences are dancing in their seats along with us. They are sure to be in the holiday spirit when they leave the theater.