21 Mar Our Story – Part V – Let Us Entertain You!
Thanks to the incredible strengths and talents of Emilie Tobias and Valery Ganiev, The Ballroom Dance Center is known and recognized across the Southeast and beyond for its Broadway-style theatrical productions featuring both professional and student cast members. Few dance studios in the country offer creative, themed showcases that incorporate music, dance, film, storytelling, history, and theatre.
Drawing on her lifelong love of history and humanities, Emilie writes the shows for The Ballroom Dance Center. She has a unique background and skill set and uses that to present ballroom shows that transcend a routine ballroom dance recital. Capturing the imagination of the youngest to the oldest member of the audience, they are taken on an adventure which sometimes leads them to far-away places through dance.
During the early years, the studio depended on outside coaches for choreography for the shows. However, over the years Emilie and Val have developed that talent as well. Val stays abreast of how dances are developing and evolving so he is always looking at dances through fresh eyes. Emilie continues to recharge her creative battery as well by watching films and attending theatrical productions and dance performances.
However, there is more to developing a great show than just the dance numbers that are performed. It begins with an idea, a story, which is transformed into an amazing show in a way that is similar to a story board that is used for a film. Every scene must be laid out from an analytical as well as a creative perspective. The lighting and music cues must be spot on. The props must be where they need to be when they need to be there. The dancers need to be on stage at the right time. It must flow in a way to draw the audience into the story without any distractions. As colleagues, building on their prior professional backgrounds, they understand the bigger picture which also includes how to structure a project and see it through to execution.
God has brought incredible people into the studio along with their professional skills. Bryton Entertainment is a fantastic Christian film company that first became involved with the studio during our “Speakeasy” show. Through their amazing film work, Bryton in collaboration with Val and Emilie produced silent film captions which told the story of warring mobsters in 1920s Chicago.
In “Warped,” our guests “boarded” a spaceship when they took their seats. Once our spaceship reached warp speed, an evil villain named Zocor took over the spaceship by appearing on the studio’s big screen to talk to the captain of the ship. Again, Bryton and The BDC incorporated film and theatrics to take the audience to a new level of entertainment.
During 2020, we filmed our show “Cats and Dogs.” One week before the show was scheduled to be performed, we went on COVID lockdown, and as they say, the rest is history. After scheduling and canceling the show a couple of times, we called on Bryton to film it. We produced “Cats and Dogs, The Movie!”
In writing our shows, Emilie will often take a Christian theme or scripture for the concept of the show while telling the story to a secular audience. For example, “Under the Big Top” featured a mousey accountant who unwittingly became an employee of the mob and then fled with their books after he witnessed a murder. Written in Dr. Seuss rhyme, this mousey accountant hid in the circus where he discovered we are uniquely and wonderfully made and what makes us different makes us special.
In the studio’s pirate show, “The Seven Deadly Pirates,” seven unsavory characters, who each had a different weakness, were featured. From lustful to gluttonous characteristics, each of them was in search of Redbeard’s treasure on Voodoo Island. What they found out in the end is that your treasure is where your heart is that references the scripture Matthew 6:21. You can only fill a hungry heart with the treasure of LOVE.
For years Jody Brittain, a long-time student at The Ballroom Dance Center, designed stunning sets for the shows of a quality comparable to that of Broadway sets. Her vision for the sets was incredible. Over the years she has built Cinderella’s castle, a creation worthy of the Magic Kingdom, a massive 1940s radio big enough to hold people, a cruise ship, the New York City skyline, a gigantic 1960s television, a stunning live oak tree for our Johnny Mercer show, and a giant cactus made from insulation foam for “The Good, The Bad and The Uncoordinated,” a western-themed production, just to name a few of her creations. She has more power tools than any man and would put Chip Gaines to shame.
Buck Faulker was also someone whose talents were greatly appreciated at the studio. His moving partitions have become a staple around the studio. You will see them pop up in many sets. They have also been copied by other studio owners who have visited The Ballroom Dance Center for use at their own studios. He built the risers we have in the main ballroom and helped us get our attic and office space organized.
A very important addition to our creative team has been Tina and Alan Kendall who have been involved in writing, directing, acting, costuming, and set design and build. Additionally, Deanna Jones has developed expertise in her use of a theatrical lighting program.
Teachers and students have contributed significantly to our shows through acting and dancing. Particularly notable for their acting and dancing in past shows have been Brandie and Stephen Rozier and Joshua Griffin.
So, where do we go from here? The stage is set as the cast and dancers prepare to present another great show. Join us as the studio is transformed into the site of a royal ball with kings and queens from history, pop music, rock and roll, gospel, and rhythm and blues. There will be three shows – Friday, April 28th, Saturday, April 29th, and Sunday, April 30th. Doors will open Friday and Saturday at 7:000 p. m. with showtime at 7:30 p. m. Doors will open for our first ever Sunday show at 2:30 p. m. Showtime is 3:00 p. m. To purchase your show tickets, which are $25 each, call The Ballroom Dance Center at 706-854-8888. It is sure to be a great show!
Kings and Queens will be dancing, ’tis true!
But a show’s not a show, unless it includes you!
Great seats are available, but the time to buy is now!
Don’t wait until it’s too late! You might miss our final bow!