Preparation for the Project C Studios recitals this weekend has been emotional for owner and founder Jen Graham. After 13 years, she will be passing on the roles of artistic director and managing director to a new generation.
Alongside the performances by the studio’s students, aged 3-18, Graham will also perform. Now that they are past the logistics of planning the show, and “everything is becoming real, it definitely is becoming emotional,” she said. “At the root of it is essentially this idea of connecting with other people, building a sense of community.”
The show, which is the 13th annual concert for the studio, will be titled “Finding Home,” with themes of celebrating legacy and passing the torch to the next generation. It features Project C’s students, companies, and faculty in various styles and exciting new works, honoring the generations of students and teachers who have found a home (and family) within the school, according to a news release from the studio.
The recitals take place Friday, June 14 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 15 at 2 p.m. at the Scott Center for the Performing Arts at Carroll Community College.
Discounts are available for seniors 65 and over and children under 9 by using the codes Senior65 and Child9 during check out. Children younger than 4 that can sit in a parent’s lap are free.
Graham said she is confident that her successors will continue on the good work of the studio. Mother-daughter duo Laurie Dodge and Michele Dean take over as artistic and managing director, respectively. Dean started at the studio when she was 9, Graham said.
Graham started dancing when she was a toddler, but in her junior year of high school, she stopped because she believed that there was no way to make a career in dance.
But in college, “I was learning so many things about my body and about dance as an art …and about the creative process. It blew my mind wide open about what a career in dance could be like.”
She founded Project C Studios on the idea that “to begin to bridge that gap between K through 12 dance training, and higher ed in the professional dance world.”
The name Project C comes from the idea of change and growth.
The concert is open to the community and anyone who loves art and dance.
“The whole point of dance performance is not necessarily to show somebody something, but to connect with an audience,” she said.
It he coming years, she will support the new ideas and directions that Dean and Dodge want to take as they direct the studio.
“But still at the core of who we are, that’s not ever going to change,” she said.
The Ballet Slipper
The Ballet Slipper of Westminster’s recital will be held this weekend to celebrate the work of students and instructors and to benefit the community.
Every two years, the studio hosts a performance with proceeds going toward an organization in the community. In the past, recitals have benefited the American Red Cross and the Carroll County Public Library.
The recital will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 14 and Saturday June 15 with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 16. Tickets are available at the door.
The venue is the auditorium at Manchester Valley High School, 3300 Maple Grove Road, Manchester.
What keeps her coming to the studio is the joy of mentoring students.
“It's just so rewarding to see children start very early in life and continue for many years,” she said. “And the discipline that they gain from it. It’s just a wonderful art form that encourages them to keep learning and never stop.”
Dancers as young as 3 will be part of the concert, but the Ballet Slipper also has classes for adults. Many of them, Lynn said, started at the studio as children and missed dance in their lives as adults.
“The benefit from it just a wonderful, wonderful outlet,” she said. “I think many people feel that because we're so tired mentally during the week with our own jobs, and physically well as well, that they want an outlet for themselves which requires total concentration.”