Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Carolina Ballet Theatre brings Carmen to Artisphere

Posted 5/12/2012 5:57:00 AM

One of the things that makes Greenville's Artisphere so special is the way the festival makes art accessible by taking it out of museums and theaters and bringing it to the streets.

Tonight I had the chance to see Carmen’s toreador dance outside as a summer breeze cooled off the evening and the sound of a nearby fountain underscored Bizet’s famous score when the Carolina Ballet Theatre performed at Artisphere.

Earlier in the day, I met with Carolina Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Hernan Justo, who explained that Carmen was something of a risky choice. It’s not as easily accessible as something like Sleeping Beauty (their next show), and he explained that the ballet is highly “theatrical and symbolic.”

Yet as the dancers moved around the temporary stage the audience was mesmerized. The crowd was filled with little girls and boys who were enraptured by the dancers’ pirouettes and jetes. A group of four-year-old ballet fans, dressed in their own tutus, sat slack jawed in the front row as the title character strutted her stuff.

It was amazing to see the ballet performed in the middle of downtown Greenville. People wandered by on their way home from work, and alfresco diners were pleasantly surprised to have front row seats to the show.

That’s the fantastic thing about Artisphere: rather than make art seem like something for the elite to enjoy behind closed doors, it makes art feel like a normal part of the pulse of the city and an expected part of everyday life.

For more information on Artisphere visit www.artisphere.us. To learn more about Carolina Ballet Theatre’s upcoming season visit www.carolinaballet.org.