Ballet documentary to premiere on WVPBS

June 3, 2018 GMT

CHARLESTON — A new documentary about Charleston Ballet will make its premiere at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Sunday, June 3, on WVPBS.

Huntington resident and three-time Emmy Award-winner and Charleston Ballet Company member Deborah Novak directed and produced the hour-long film. “Not many people realize that one of the oldest ballet companies in America is right here in West Virginia, and this film celebrates the Charleston Ballet’s long artistic history,” she said.

“Andre Van Damme & the Story of the Charleston Ballet” follows the journey of Andre Van Damme from his roots as a premier danseur etoile in the Brussels Royal Opera through his journey to America, where he founded the Charleston Ballet in 1956.

Novak’s film features interviews with founding and current company members, such as the late Charleston Ballet historian Julianne Kemp and Beckley Dance Theater artistic director Jerry Rose. It also includes key figures in the ballet’s operations, such as Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History; Charleston Mayor Danny Jones; and

regional dance experts, such as Yoav Kaddar, director of the dance program at WVU and Christi Camper Moore, Ph.D. of Ohio University.

The film was premiered at the West Virginia Culture Center in late March, followed by two public screenings at the LaBelle Theater in South Charleston and the Huntington Museum of Art.

“This documentary film has been nearly two years in the making,” said Charleston Ballet artistic director and CEO Kim Pauley. “We are so lucky to have someone of Ms. Novak’s caliber to produce a film of this magnitude for the Charleston Ballet and chronicle its fascinating history for West Virginia.”

The Charleston Ballet has also made the film available for purchase.

Copies of “Andre Van Damme & the Story of the Charleston Ballet” can be purchased online at http://www.thecharlestonballet.com/Documentary.aspx or by calling the Charleston Ballet offices at 304-342-6541. DVDs are $15, with $6 shipping and handling for online orders. For more information about the history of the Charleston ballet, or questions about upcoming seasons or classes, call 304-342-6541 or email info@thecharlestonballet.com.