Columbus Dance Theatre is now in its 16th season, "which is a pretty long time for a professional dance troupe to keep going," founder, artistic director, choreographer and dancer Tim Veach said last week.
Several factors play into this longevity, he said. These include offering dance classes for children and others not only at the troupe's headquarters, 592 E. Main St., but also at satellite facilities, first in Bexley starting seven years ago and much more recently on the Northwest Side.
"Parents and families are very stressed on time and stressed on having to get their children from place to place," Veach said, explaining how the first satellite classroom space was opened in 2007 at 2236 E. Main St. in Bexley.
This past August, after a friend who ran the Liberty Dance Academy at 7540 Sawmill Parkway decided to give up the space, Columbus Dance Theatre took it over.
"It's just brand new and we're really trying to get the word to people out there," Veach said. "We have great, great training. We have kids who come through our school who become professional dancers."
Another factor, along with the kind of talented dancers the group has been able to attract over the years, is the support received during annual benefit performances that date back about a decade.
This year, a new show and a new venue are part of the benefit, although a familiar face will once again be on hand.
"Pleasure with Payne," choreographed and directed by Veach, will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd. Doors will open at 7 p.m. for dining and drinks. There also will be an after-party celebration with members of the company and Chicago cabaret performer Kathryn Payne.
Tickets for dinner and the show cost $100 per person.
Payne, who grew up in the Canton area and lived in Cleveland for a time, has been a frequent performer at Columbus Dance Theatre benefits, Veach said, usually in a show called "10 Cents a Dance." This time around, he said, he wanted to create a new show with new dances and to feature Payne speaking as well as singing.
"She's an incredible pianist and singer," Veach said. "This is going to be more about the journey of her life and the dancing fits in with that. She's very funny, but also some of it's very poignant about her life."
A total of 10 new dances will be performed by 13 of the 15 dancers in the company; two are on maternity leave, Veach indicated.
What attracted Veach to the Northland Performing Arts Center after a friend recommended it for "Pleasure with Payne" was the size of the space and the presence of a full commercial kitchen.
"We don't have a kitchen in our theater," he said. "We needed a bigger space, a space that can handle food. It's awesome for this particular show because you can set tables up there; it's a good full stage.
"It's a really ideal space for this kind of event. We're excited."
Veach came to Columbus from New York City in 1991 to work on his master of fine arts degree in choreography at Ohio State University. He and his wife, Christina Kirk, wanted to start a family and decided central Ohio was a better place for that than New York.
He worked for a time at BalletMet Columbus before starting Columbus Dance Theatre.
Kirk teaches acting and directing in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Otterbein University.