BOONE, N.C. — Denise Ringler, director of arts engagement and cultural resources at Appalachian State University, was awarded $11,200 in funding from the North Carolina Arts Council to host the residency of dance company Ailey II and their performance, titled “Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance,” at Appalachian’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.
The residency and performance program, which took place in fall 2017, was also funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“Ailey II, one of the world’s foremost contemporary dance companies, is dedicated to continuing the legacy of dance pioneer Alvin Ailey and fostering the next generation of dance in America,” Ringler said.
During the company’s visit to Appalachian, she said the dancers offered master classes and workshops for university and community dance students; a lecture by the company’s artistic director, Troy Powell; an audience Q&A session; and two performances at the Schaefer Center, including a school show for students in grades K-12, as well as a public performance.
According to Ringler, the master classes, which were offered in partnership with Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance, enabled students to work with the internationally renowned artists of Ailey II in a dance studio setting, offering a supportive and inspiring learning environment.
“Residencies such as this one offer unique opportunities to bring artists and audience members of all ages together for meaningful interactions that offer a deeper and more lasting impact than is possible by simply attending a performance,” Ringler said.
“Through school performances at the Schaefer Center featuring companies such as Ailey II, children in grades K-12 who have never before attended a performance in a concert hall often gain their first exposure to art forms such as dance, theatre, opera or symphony. Approximately 1,200 members of the university and surrounding community participated in this three-day residency.”
Ringler’s collaborators for this project included numerous staff members of Appalachian’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs.
About the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts is a 1,673-seat, multiuse auditorium located on the campus of Appalachian State University. The center, which features orchestra and balcony level seating as well as a proscenium stage, is dedicated to enhancing the artistic and cultural landscape of Appalachian and the surrounding region by providing a venue devoted to the year-round presentation of campus and community events that enrich, educate, inspire and promote quality of life. The Schaefer Center is also home to the Smith Gallery, which presents work by students and faculty members during the academic year. Learn more at http://theschaefercenter.org.
About the Department of Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.