Around the Upstate
New Dance Chair presents first Governor’s School Fall Performance
The Fall Dance Performance showcases both traditional and contemporary pieces. The program will feature works from the classical repertoire including Don Quixote and Swan Lake with choreography by Marius Petipa, the father of Classical Ballet, and Auguste Bournonville, 19th Century Danish ballet master teacher and choreographer. Also featured in the program are contemporary ballet works such as the South Carolina premiere of Awakening by guest artist Lissette Salgado and modern dance premieres by Tracy Vogt and Garant.
“The audience will have the opportunity to witness the talent and hard work of our students through spectacular solos, Pas de Deux and intricate and stimulating ensemble works,” says Garant.
The creative direction for the performance will introduce Garant’s plans for the SCGSAH dance department. Although the department’s pre-professional training program will continue to be grounded in a strong classical ballet foundation based on the Vaganova technique, students will perform a more diverse repertoire comprised of various dance styles.
“Though the quality of work will continue to be of the highest standard,” says Garant. “We are reaching forward with the goal of remaining at the forefront of the development of dance training and the demands of a constantly changing dance world.”
Garant will introduce the students throughout the year to four world renowned dance artists: former principal dancer with Joffrey Ballet and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet Lissette Salgado, Flamenco extraordinaire Rosa Mercedes, Afro-Brazilian choreographer and Guggenheim fellowship recipient and artistic director of Brazz Dance Theatre Augusto Soledade and Thaddeus Davis of Wideman/Davis Dance listed in the Dance Magazine’s January 2002 issue as one of “25 To Watch In The World.”
“I want our dancers to experience a program that is not only technically demanding but also artistically thought provoking,” says Garant.
A successful dancer and noted choreographer, Garant knows much about transforming the art of dance. Prior to joining SCGSAH, she was the Artistic Director and Founder of Josée Garant Dance in Miami, Florida, a company with a dedicated mission to educate, promote, and increase the public’s awareness, knowledge and appreciation of contemporary dance and arts. However, Garant desired a stronger connection to the education of young dancers.
“I have always known of the high standards of excellence at the Governor’s School, and following a summer visit was further impressed and inspired by the school’s dedication to the artistic growth of its students,” explains Garant. “That inspiration extended to the potential of the Dance Program, as well as the students’ talents and commitment to their art form. I was eager to join the school and build upon my vision of dance as it relates to the 21st Century. As an active participant in the department’s growth, I look forward to watching the students reach new heights.”
The strength of Garant’s dance background alone qualifies her for this new position. A native of Canada, she received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival, a BFA (honors) degree in Dance from York University and graduated from the National Ballet School of Canada Teacher Training Program.
After a successful career as a freelance modern dance performer, Garant shifted her focus to the education of young dancers. She joined the faculty of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. During this long association she created the Modern Dance and Choreographic Programs and was the director of the postgraduate Aspirant Program.
As a choreographer Garant has garnered numerous choreographic awards, including the Youth America Grand Prix competition in Connecticut and at the International Choreographic Competition in St-Sauveur, Québec. In 1988, she was nominated by l’ADISQ for a ‘Felix’ for Stage Direction and for Scenographer of the Year for her work with singer songwriter Daniel Lavoie.
Garant’s choreography has had an international impact and has been presented on many stages around the world ranging from the Olympia Theatre in Paris to the New York Joyce Soho Theatre. Her work has been produced by diverse organizations such as by the Festival of Women in the Arts in North Dakota, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s Du Maurier New Music Festival, and by the 1999 Pan American Games. She has created works for international dance competitions held in Tokyo, Jackson Mississippi, and New York City.
Her success and experience will prove invaluable in her new position at SCGSAH. Garant promises to continue the dedication and success of the department while introducing an approach to the art form and taking students into the 21st Century of dance.
The South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities is a public residential high school located in Greenville, South Carolina, providing a unique arts and academic education to the state's emerging artists. Young artists, usually in 11th or 12th grade, study creative writing, dance, drama, music, or visual arts during the academic year and rising 9th and 10th grade students attend summer programs in these areas, with summer dance programs open to rising 7th through 12th grade students. For more information, visit www.scgsah.org or call 864.282.3713.