Davidson dancers get special instructors

Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Norbert Nirewicz, a dancer from Poland, conducts a ballet class for boys taking dance at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School.

The dozen boys in the dance class at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School on Friday were introduced to a dance form they were unfamiliar with - ballet.


Norbert Nirewicz, a guest dancer and teacher, conducted a master class for the students as part of an outreach through the Augusta Ballet Company.

Renee Toole, the chairwoman of the fine arts department, said she welcomed the opportunity to have the boys learn from a male dancer.

"They can see what the male technique is supposed to look like - athletic artistry," she said.

Mr. Nirewicz used a follow-the- leader approach for the class by performing a technique first, then having the pupils attempt it.

"This was very different," said Lee Buoy, a freshman. "We don't have any male (dance) teachers. It's been a wonderful experience."

While the boys were in their dance class, the girls were spending the afternoon with Stacy Calvert, a former New York City ballet dancer and instructor at the University of South Carolina.

Ms. Calvert danced for choreographer George Balanchine when she was in New York.

"Opportunities like this don't come often," Ms. Toole said of having Ms. Calvert and Mr. Nirewicz giving lessons at Davidson.

The master classes came a day after Ms. Calvert's pupils and Mr. Nirewicz performed in the Augusta Ballet Company's Winter Works show. Mr. Nirewicz, who is from Poland, performed a piece called Apollo with the pupils. The ballet, choreographed by Balanchine, was first performed in 1928.

Ms. Toole said the pupils were surprised to learn the piece was performed in the 1920s.

"They would never have thought it was a work of that age," she said. Through it, they saw links to modern forms of dance.

A second class Saturday was open to the community.

Patti Ann Smith, with the Augusta Ballet Company, said dancers from as far away as Athens, Ga., registered for the class.

There will be another dance workshop in the spring, but details have not been worked out.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.



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