In 2012, company members JAMIE DEE CLIFTON and SARAH HAYES HARKINS performed in the premiere of Resident Choreographer Dwight Rhoden’s The Groove. Now, four years later, this piece will be performed as part of FALL WORKS to kick off the 2016/2017 Season. With the opportunity to perform this piece again, the dancers describe their experience with the work and reflect on how they have matured as dancers with Charlotte Ballet. Interested in seeing The Groove at Fall Works? Purchase tickets HERE!




What was your experience when you first danced Dwight Roden’s The Groove  four years ago?

Jamie: The creation of The Groove was a fun and slightly stressful process. Due to time constraints, and this being a very dense work, Dwight choreographed the ending while we were onstage the night before the premiere.  

Sarah: The first word that comes to mind is “fun.” Although every process with Dwight is hard on the body, this one in particular had fun music and the company was enjoying it so much that we really came together and just had fun.

How have you felt you’ve grown as a dancer since this performance?

Jamie: With each passing season, I’ve been refining my technique and gaining more experience with Dwight’s work.

Sarah: I feel like I have grown quite a lot actually. So much has happened in five years, and I’ve grown so much as a human and as a person.  As a dancer, I hope I have grown, and I hope I keep growing no matter what.

Is there a certain section of the piece that you are excited to dance again?

Jamie: I love the music for a section called Pandemonium!  There are a few sweet little duets in there that are fun and charming.

Sarah: I love the final song. Dwight asked us to take a journey in this ballet, and at the end thoughtfully take it all in and look back on where we came from. This time I get to look back all the way to 5 years ago.  It’s kind of epic.

Though it will be the same choreography, what do you think will make it a different experience?

Jamie: Dwight created this work specifically pulling from strengths of the dancers in the original cast.  We have nearly a whole new crop of people, so Dwight has made a few changes and refinements to suit the current cast.   

Sarah: This ballet is about the way you relate to the dancers around you, and this time I get to do it with a whole new group; a group of people I am growing to love and respect. You can’t get better than that.

How will you approach this experience differently?

Jamie: Already being familiar with the choreography allows me to explore my limits and work a little deeper earlier in the process. There have been casting changes recently, so there will be a bit more of an adjustment period as my new partners and I iron out some kinks. I am excited to “gel” with my new guys! I appreciate the opportunity to revisit work with more experience under my belt. There’s a level of confidence, trust, and freedom that I didn’t have on the first go-around.

Sarah: I’ll try to have a whole new journey. One that is unpredictable.