"Jazz Moves Columbus"

Three of Columbus' best organizations Jazz Arts Group, BalletMet and WOSU Public Media have developed an innovative and unprecedented collaboration to celebrate Columbus' past, present and future through the first major presentation of the 200Columbus celebration "Jazz Moves Columbus" (February 2 12 at the Capitol Theatre Riffe Center).

These unique and creative multi-media performances will celebrate Columbus' 200th birthday through music, dance and imagery with the artistic leadership of Byron Stripling (Columbus Jazz Orchestra) and Gerard Charles (BalletMet), working in tandem with executive producer Mary Rathke (WOSU). Using video and images as a narrative, the audience takes a dizzying journey through Columbus' "Cradle of Jazz, " weekend parties, historic neighborhoods, and dance halls while remembering the fragility of life, the civil rights movement, joyous Sunday morning church services, and a celebration of our bright future. The Capitol Theatre at the Vern Riffe Center will come alive with newly-commissioned choreography and music, providing an iconic kickoff to the year-long celebration in Columbus. With the corresponding images and stories that are a part of the acclaimed Columbus Neighborhoods documentary series, audiences will be transported back in time as well as catapulted toward a future vision through the performing arts.

"From the actual show taking place, it already shows that we're (Columbus) creative and open. Audiences will certainly find this piece to be responsive to them and their thoughts, " said BalletMet Artistic Director Gerard Charles. "A lot of people are going to come back to see it again."

Six cutting-edge choreographers from Broadway to Columbus have actualized their visions with the world-renowned talents of BalletMet in order to maximize the potential of this inspiring collaboration. Choreographers include Randy Duncan (West Side Story, Guys and Dolls), Stella Kane (Sugar, Bob Fosse's Dancin'), Dan Knechtges (Sondheim on Sondheim, Xanadu), Harrison McEldowney (The Baton Show Lounge, Billy Sunday); Darrell Grand Moultrie (The Color Purple, Aida, Billy Elliott), and Lynne Taylor-Corbett (Swing!, Chess, Titanic)

This marks the third major collaboration between the CJO and BalletMet the original "Jazz Moves" won the Greater Columbus Arts Council's Artistic Excellence Award and was called "groundbreaking" by the Columbus Dispatch.

"This project is more than a performance it will be a true 'community' celebration!, " shares CJO Artistic Director Byron Stripling. "When the community sees the need for a project like this an artistic project where people can really move the city and elevate its spirit and celebrate what it is through art that's what uplifts us in a really incredible way."

"Jazz Moves Columbus" will also include a collaboration with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and their highly regarded Columbus Memories project, to create a unique community experience at each performance. Each evening will be topped off with an ice cream social that celebrates the "sweet spot" that is our unique city and provides a post-performance gathering to meet one another and the stars of the show. Ice cream will be supplied by Columbus' very own Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, voted the number one ice cream in the country!

Producing this project are three organizations recognized nationally for their artistic vision, spirit of collaboration, and community involvement: the Jazz Arts Group, BalletMet, and WOSU Public Media. The goals of the WOSU portion of the production are to create a unique media experience in collaboration with artistic directors of both arts organizations that includes segments of stories from the Columbus Neighborhoods series, plus the production of a broadcast documentary on the creative process starting in the fall of 2011 up to and including segments of the performance. The documentary will reflect the challenges of the entire artistic process, while growing a unique understanding of our city's history and culture. It will air at least six times on WOSU TV and be used online by the partnering organizations.

This effort is unique to Columbus, providing a special, collaborative project that reflects the "smart" and "open" nature of our community and serves as a tremendous kickoff as Columbus begins its bicentennial celebration. The project has been designated by the Bicentennial Committee as a signature 200Columbus event.

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