It’s well-documented that the Dayton community is one of extraordinary innovation, arts and collaboration. That synergy will be on display at tonight’s sold-out November 2 (and newly added second performance November 4) with A Premiere Evening – a benefit for the world-renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
The evening includes the local premiere of the newest hit from award-winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. Their latest project, SPARKLE, won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at SilverDocs, the largest documentary film festival in the United States.
Sparkle tells the story of celebrated Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams as she recovers from the first major injury in her 38-year career. Reichert and Bognar followed Williams through her months-long recovery process and offers the project to answer the question “Will she ever dance again?” The film offers audiences a rare behind-the-scenes look at DCDC’s rehearsals and performances. A Q&A with the filmmakers follows the screening.
After the film screening, the audience will be treated to the world premiere of a dance created by the impassioned choreographer Rodney Brown for Sparkle “The Gatherer/weething” and a short performance by the world-renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Truly a premiere evening! Tickets are available now.
I talked to the woman of the hour – Sheri “Sparkles’ Williams – to learn about her experience as the subject of the short film by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert and what audiences may expect.
Film is a very different medium than dance – was it a challenge from your perspective blending the two?
As documentarians – they don’t interrupt at all. It’s our regular rehearsal and they capture that – nothing is affected by their filming. Most of the time you don’t realize they’re there – you forget. They didn’t affect our day at all – no retakes, no stopping to get another angle or anything.
Were you concerned to have them following you during this vulnerable and challenging time of your career?
No, not all at – no pressure – no anything. My only concern had nothing to do with the documenting – my only concern was getting myself together.
What do you hope people will come away feeling after seeing the film and seeing you on stage?
I would hope people will get an opportunity to feel good about something. This may be dance and how it affects me, but (people) can be pushed back and overcome it. Know you’re not alone. You can make it happen. And it’s uplifting – the film is uplifting. And the whole evening together – from film to live movement – we are a family – we support each other, there’s camaraderie running amok. We work hard, but it’s a family and they were rooting me on. All of us get affected in some way – what we do is strenuous and people get hurt, but we’re there for each other.
Filmmakers of the caliber of Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar – it’s just amazing that they would want to spend their time with me. It’s been such an amazing experience – I’ve learned so much from them. I’ve had a great time and I have two more friends now. This whole evening is such an honor and such a joy -I’m so excited by it.
Don’t miss this great event! If you haven’t got your tickets for the Friday night benefit, don’t fear! By overwhelming demand a second show has been added on Sunday, November 4 at 5:30 PM at the Dayton Art Institute. Tickets are general admission and available for only $25 at TicketCenterStage.