Columbia City Ballet is now South Carolina Ballet

ALTON DEXTER ADAMS
Guest Choreographer

After 30+ years in the dancing business Alton remains relevant and passionate about the development of young people in the art of dance. His extensive experience as teacher, choreographer, trainer, coach, and mentor has earned him the accolades as “the teachers’ teacher”. Although Alton’s talents extend through many genres of dance, he is considered an expert at teaching Jazz, and creating large scaled choreography which keeps his schedule full conducting Master Classes and serving as guest artist in residence for independent dance schools, colleges, universities and entertainment companies around the country. 

Alton’s classical, quick moving, ballet technique-layered style of choreography comes from extensive studying with world class master teachers including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Savion Glover, Jackie Slieght, Frank Hatchett, and Andrea Freed Levenson. His training and performance experience was developed by opportunities at the Julliard School of Dance, The University of South Carolina Dance Company, the Columbia City Ballet Company, and a USO Tour with Bob Hope. Alton’s teaching experience is vast and includes a 20+ year career at The Southern Strutt Dance School where he taught all ages, all levels, and all genres of dance… Pre-School through Pro Am. 

Alton currently serves as creative director for Move Company Dance in Hartsville, SC where he’s involved in every aspect of training, choreographing, and management for the nationally ranked competitive team. Alton still believes, “In order to become an entertainer/performer, you must first develop a strong technical foundation, then use it to its fullest potential every time you dance. Plus, throw in lots of love, support, and encouragement for good measure”.

SUSAN ANDERSON
Guest Choreographer

Susan Anderson is the founding director of the USC Dance Program and Company, the USC Dance Conservatory, and the South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory. Under her directorship, the dance program implemented a BA major in Dance Performance and Choreography in 2004, with concentrations in Ballet or Contemporary Dance. Soon after, the program added an emphasis in Dance Education, a K-12 Teacher Certification program, in partnership with the College of Education. Since this time, the dance program has become nationally recognized, earning distinction from Dance Magazine as one of the top three collegiate programs to consider for classical ballet study. Susan’s professional artistic works include the creation of over 100 original ballets, such as Scheherazade, Ondine, Taming of the Shrew, Planet Dance (with artist Blue Sky), The Firebird, Peter Pan, Phantom of the Night, Crown Jewels, Sylvia, Carnival of the Animals, Pleasures of Paris, The Young Man and Death, and most recently The Bernstein Mass with the USC School of Music. She has choreographed and taught master classes for the Gus Giordano Dance Company in Chicago, the University of California, Irvine, University of Buffalo, University of Georgia, Several Dancers Core in Atlanta, Murray State, Knoxville Dance Theatre, Loyola University, Inco Ballet in Colombia, South America, and the Stadtische Opera in Gera, Germany. Some of her recent achievements include the USC Dance Company selection by the American College Dance Festival to represent the southeast at the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington DC, this past June. The securing, design, and implementation of the new multi-million-dollar USC Dance Center is one of her proudest personal achievements. In June of 2018, Professor Anderson retired from USC, only to be rehired as the Executive Director of the USC Board of Dance as well as producing the Annual Dance Gala. She also continues to teach as well as direct the SC Summer Dance Conservatory. 

JAMES R. ATKINSON, JR
Guest Choreographer

James R. Atkinson, Jr., a native of New Haven, Connecticut, is an Associate Professor of Dance at Alabama State University and former BFA Dance Program Director. Mr. Atkinson received his MFA from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and a BFA from Purchase College at State University of New York (SUNY) within the School of Arts’ Conservatory of Dance. Mr. Atkinson began his professional dance career with New England Ballet Company, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, and Ballet Preljocaj during their American tour at Purchase College. Subsequently, he has been a company member with Gleich Dances, Compania de Danza Contemporanea de Burgos, Sonya Plum Dance Company, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Oakland Ballet, Capacitor, Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, and a soloist with Columbia City Ballet. He also was the Artistic Director of Ballet Savannah and Founding Director of Classical Contemporary Ballet Theatre. Mr. Atkinson is a recipient of the 2017 Alabama State Council on the Arts Dance Fellowship. He currently serves on the Alabama Dance Council and Skipp Pearson Jazz Foundation board. 

MIRANDA BAILEY
Guest Choreographer

Miranda Bailey joined Columbia City Ballet in 2001 & performed with the company as a Soloist until her retirement in 2013. She is best known as Chinese Tea in Nutcracker & Victoria in Dracula. Susan Levi Wallach of the Free Times wrote of her performance in Beauty and the Beast, “Miranda Bailey, in the role of Beauty’s sister Pride, was a standout. Bailey performed with a self-assurance & fluidity, underpinned by precise technique, a clean, classical line & rock-solid balance. When she danced, it was hard to look at anyone else.” She is also the Assistant Director of Dance Prism Ballet, a professional touring company based in Boston, MA where she has staged & starred in such classic ballets as Romeo & Juliet, La Sylphide, Giselle, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Coppelia, & Don Quixote as well as creating the original ballets of The Frog Prince, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Puss In Boots, & The Little Mermaid. Additionally, Miranda teaches and choreographs for Safe Haven Ballet in Portsmouth, NH, providing trauma-sensitive classes for survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse.Miranda has been Ballet Mistress since 2016 & in her 8 seasons in the position she has had the opportunity as a choreographer to contribute original works to productions such as Body and Movement Explored, Beatles Ballet, and Motown Ballet, Studio 54 Ballet, & created the Educational Outreach production of The Grinch. 

ERIN JAFFEE-GARDNER
Guest Choreographer

A native of Columbia, SC, Erin received her early training from William Starrett, Mariclare Miranda, and Professor Susan E. Anderson. At the age of 16, she entered the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Professional Division, where she studied under Jacqueline Webber and Galina Yordanova. Upon graduation, Erin returned home to study at the University of South Carolina, training under Stanislav Issaev. Erin is an Adjunct Ballet Instructor for the University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance, Board Member of USC Dance Company , and Freelance Dance Writer for the Free Times in Columbia, SC. Erin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and is a company instructor.Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck and Alexei Ratmansky. 

MAURICE JOHNSON
Guest Choreographer

Maurice, a native of Greenville, SC began dancing at the age of 11 at Fine Arts Center and Greenville Ballet. He obtained an arts diploma from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Maurice has studied with full scholarships at The Rock School and Dance Theater of Harlem. He has had the opportunity to work with choreographers Lynn Taylor-Corbett and Val Caniparoli creating world premieres. Maurice has danced with Nashville Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Miriam Barbosa Dance Company. He has been a guest performer with UofSC Dance Company, Columbia SummerRepertory Dance Company, and Mohawk Valley Ballet in Utica, New York. While guesting Maurice was able to dance in such productions as Fosse’s “Crunchy Granola Suite” and Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” and “Western Symphony”. Some of his favorite roles at CCB as a soloist include Sand Dance Gymnopedies I/II, Puss N’ Boots, Sleeping Beauty and Dew Drop Cavalier. Maurice is in his seventeenth season with South Carolina Ballet and his second season as a Ballet Master 

STEPHANIE WILKINS
Guest Choreographer

Stephanie Wilkins is the Artistic Director, head choreographer and co-founder of the Columbia Repertory Dance Company. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Dance Performance & Choreography from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in NYC, where she lived for fifteen years. She has taught, choreographed and performed extensively in NYC, San Francisco, Brazil, Kenya and SC. Stephanie has been an adjunct Professor of Dance at the University of SC, Columbia College and Coker University. In January 2015, she premiered Woven, her first evening-length work, with jazz composer Mark Rapp; she taught and choreographed at Dance Centre Kenya in Nairobi in 2017; and performed her solo Burned at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland in 2022. Two of her works for CRDC were chosen for the Dumbo Dance Festival in Brooklyn, NY, and the company performed as the only company from SC at the festival in June 2023. She is excited to work again with the SC Ballet Company! 

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