Award-winning choreographer Terrance Henderson selected to produce evening-length work for ensemble of local dancers
Insiders within the Midlands performing arts scene know Terrance Henderson well, but audiences at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College will get to know the award-winning choreographer and performer much more deeply during a one-night-only production of his new, evening-length dance piece for ensemble, Ruins, on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Ruins is the official 2015-2016 selection for partnership with the HT@MTC Performance Incubator, which fosters the growth of professional performing arts talent in the Midlands, helping local artists launch nationally touring, S.C.-based productions. Founded in 2012 as part of Harbison Theatre’s inaugural season, the HT@MTC Performance Incubator invites professional performing artists residing in the Midlands to develop new products suitable for touring nationwide that can serve as sustainable sources of revenue in their artistic careers.
A live contemporary dance work for an ensemble of locally-based performers, Ruins depicts the lifelong physical and spiritual journey that shapes one’s own legacy. Ancient ruins serve as a reminder that others came before us; in an age saturated with fleeting digital images, videos and tweets, how will we imbue meaning in what we leave behind? Terrance Henderson and his dancers will address this question and more through the modern dance medium in the intimate, 400-seat space at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College.
“Ruins is about responding to the world and leaving your impression on the world as your whole self – encompassing your personal self, professional self and internal self,” says Katie Fox, Executive Director of Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College. “It’s about authenticity and bravery, two things we support wholeheartedly here at the college.”
Ruins will take place in three parts: each segment exploring the separation, and then joining, of oneself with the legacy one hopes to leave – a parallel to Henderson’s personal journey through artistic expression.
“The HT@MTC Performance Incubator is always a special experience, but this year we’re working with an artist whose personal and artistic development phases have aligned perfectly. He understands his purpose and is poised to express it artistically,” says Fox. “Notably, he’s done all of this development right here in the Midlands.”
After studying musical theater at the University of South Carolina, Henderson set forth to build what is already an impressive performing arts legacy. He won the Bronze Leo for Outstanding Jazz Choreography at the Jazz Dance World Congress in 2009, then founded the semi-annual Dimensions: South Carolina Contemporary Dance Festival to give local performers the opportunity to see international talent. Before founding his own company, Henderson served as the artistic director at Vibrations Dance Company, a locally renowned collective that expresses the African-American aesthetic through spiritual, modern, jazz, and blues dance.
Henderson’s local fan base has increased steadily over the years, following him for his choreography and performances in shows like Smokey Joe’s Café in 2011, Henderson Bros. Burlesque and The Black Man … Complex in 2014, and Dreamgirls in 2015. A highly esteemed faculty member of the Logan Elementary Fine Arts Department, he encourages and empowers his students to travel throughout South Carolina to perform. Henderson also teaches at Columbia Ballet School and the Southeastern School of Ballet, where he hopes to offer a new perspective of dance to his students and encourage them to evolve their own forms. Henderson also is the owner and director of T.O. Dance, an intimate dance company that explores various styles of performance art, focused on individualistic work.
He has begun to step away from choreographing other people’s shows and performing other people’s scripts, turning his focus toward the legacy he wishes to leave as an artist.
“I have always used my work as my way to express my feelings about the world and my place in it,” says Henderson. “Once I started making real statements about my identity and my greater purpose as an artist, I found out just how little my community really knew or understood about me. How am I to be remembered in a place where I feel so loved, and so equally misunderstood?”
Henderson and his dancers are collaborating with Fox and the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College production team to develop a work that redefines the choreographer’s identity as an artist.
“I realize now that the answer to my work is inside my understanding of me, through my thoughts, words, sounds and movements,” notes Henderson. “What is lasting? What lasts? And does that help to shift our ideas about what matters?”
“Audiences will love Ruins because the clarity and depth of Terrance’s work has led him to create a piece that’s very moving,” says Fox. “At times the performers are very vulnerable, and at others they command driving power, with tremendous creativity of expression. I think we all will leave the show on February 27 reflecting on our own legacies.”
Be there when Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College and choreographer Terrance Henderson present Ruins on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased online at www.harbisontheatre.org or via phone at 803.407.5011.
About Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College
Rooted in the performing arts, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College offers programs and productions that encourage reflection, examination and discovery; and that provide entertainment, education and opportunity to professionals, learners and community members in all stages of life. To learn about upcoming events, purchase tickets, or pursue sponsorship and volunteer opportunities with Harbison Theatre, please visit harbisontheatre.org.
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About Midlands Technical College
Midlands Technical College (MTC) is a comprehensive, multi-campus, public, two-year college serving Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties of South Carolina. The fifth-largest provider of higher education in South Carolina and the largest provider of transfer students to four-year colleges and universities in the state, MTC enrolls approximately 18,000 credit students annually. The college’s Corporate and Continuing Education program, one of the largest and most comprehensive in the Southeast, annually has 30,000 enrollments and provides continuing education to hundreds of area businesses each year.midlandstech.edu