The Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble will perform Oct. 18 in New Albany as part of the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts' 2011-12 season.

The Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble will perform Oct. 18 in New Albany as part of the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts’ 2011-12 season.

Keith Saunders, director of the dance ensemble, said the group does three types of performances: a full concert performance, an educational performance for students and an interactive, educational performance for audiences.

Saunders said the ensemble members would meet with New Albany students at the McCoy center in the morning to teach them about the technical aspects of the performances. These components include how the male dancers make their turns, how the women dance “en pointe” and the dynamics of how the men and women dance together.

The evening performance will be interactive, with Saunders narrating and explaining parts of it.

“It demystifies what we do again as classically trained dance artists and provides more understanding and more accessibility to our artists,” he said.

The 90-minute interactive performance will educate audiences about the path the dancers take from practice to the stage. Some audience members also will have the opportunity to join the dancers on stage during a dance.

“They learn what it is to work as a classically trained dance artist,” Saunders said.

Ted DeDee, executive director of the McCoy center, said the interactive nature of the performance will help the audience appreciate the “incredible dancers and their marvelous technique.”

“The dance master will talk a little about the composition, the thought behind the choreography and the story line,” DeDee said.

DeDee said dance performances generally are more difficult to sell to the general public.

“Because of all the art forms, this tends to be a little more elusive,” he said.

During the evening performance, audience members will be able to ask questions, which makes the evening a bit more unusual,” he said.

“We’ve found that the more interaction we have between the audience and the performers, the greater the understanding,” DeDee said. “The audience comes away with a better understanding and better appreciation of the performance.”

DeDee said the group has “such versatility, using traditional ballet incorporated within modern techniques.”

The ensemble is in the fourth season of its “Dance for America” tour, Saunders said. Its performance is being presented in collaboration with the King Arts Complex in Columbus. Tickets start at $15 and are on sale at www.mccoycenter.org and by calling (614) 245-4701.

The McCoy center season will continue Nov. 30 with Jim Brickman, a singer, songwriter and pianist. Brickman will be joined in the holiday-themed event by vocalists Anne Cochran and Benjamin Utecht and violinist Tracy Silverman.

On Jan. 8, the Columbus Children’s Theatre will perform “Aladdin,” and on Jan. 26, the McCoy center will host the National Touring Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” On Feb. 24, Michael Gates Gill, author of “How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else,” is scheduled to speak. The season concludes April 13 with Capitol Steps, a political satire group.

lwince@thisweeknews.com

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