OUR ONLINE STORE IS OPEN!

November 13, 2023By Annie Yamamoto

We are delighted to share the exciting news that our online store is officially open! We want to express our sincere gratitude for the overwhelming support we have received as we prepared for this launch! 

At the heart of our vintage logos lies the artistry of Dottie Jannone, the original co-owner of Camp Ballibay and artist behind the designs. As we open our store, we take a moment to celebrate Dottie and her beautiful contributions to the aesthetic legacy of Ballibay. 

Our initial launch features two vintage Ballibay logos from the 70s and 80s. 

While our initial launch highlights these vintage logos, we are excited to share that we have plans to expand our merchandise in the future! Keep an eye out on all of our social media platforms (Instagram Discord and Facebook for upcoming releases, promotions, and exclusive merch.

We're in the process of establishing a community of campers, staff, and alumni on Discord, and we invite you to join us! As our Discord community expands, it will serve as the primary platform for sharing the latest Ballibay news, along with exclusive content available only on Discord. You can use this invite link to join, but please note that it expires on November 17, 2023. If you happen to come across this blog post after that date, feel free to reach out to me for a fresh invite link! 

Once again, thank you all for your unwavering support! As we commemorate Dottie's artistry throughout our 60th season, we invite you to visit our store!

RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW.

December 21, 2021By sarah galante

Almost 15 years ago, our managing director Kristin Alexander established an annual residency at Ballibay with Annex Dance Company, her professional modern dance company located in Charleston, South Carolina. Each summer she brings a company member(s) to teach in our dance department and perform alongside the campers in the dance concert. This summer, Ballibay was fortunate enough to have Taylor Bennett, an Annex Dance Company apprentice and College of Charleston student all summer long. Taylor taught modern, jazz and hip-hop, and brought so much creativity, joy, and collaboration to our dance department. We hope we will be fortunate enough to continue to work with her for many summers to come.

Taylor Bennett and Rhianna Lewis, Camp Ballibay Dance Concert 2021. PC: Cydney Blitzer. 

During the second dance intensive, Kristin choreographed a new piece entitled Right Here. Right Now. Kristin, Taylor and the campers performed the piece to a score composed by camp director John Jannone, making it a succinct and lovely Ballibay collaboration for our final dance concert of the 2021 season. About five months after the Ballibay debut, Annex Dance Company premiered Right Here. Right Now. in Charleston. I spoke with Taylor and Kristin to discuss the differences and similarities between the two performances, and how it felt growing alongside a new and expanding piece of choreography.

Sofia Puccio and Kristin Alexander. Camp Ballibay Dance Concert, 2021. PC: Cydney Blitzer. 

How does a piece like Right Here. Right Now. become a part of the Annex Dance Company season?
Kristin: Every summer while the company is in-residence, I either set company repertory or create new work for us to perform with the campers in the dance concert.  When I create new choreography, I bring it back to Charleston to workshop with my company.  This season we had a performance planned in December that I knew would be the perfect concert to premiere Right Here. Right Now. in Charleston. 

Can you tell me what it was like to begin the process of Right Here. Right Now. at Camp Ballibay this summer?
Kristin: I really wanted to collaborate with John, so I was excited he wanted to work on a composition for the piece.  The music definitely influenced the creative direction, especially the movement vocabulary.  

Taylor: Kristin created choreography phrases for us to work with in rehearsal. We tried them as a group, in duets, and even transformed them into moments of connection and partnering.  She had a vision for the piece, but as she always does, allowed the creative process to be authentic and open to new ideas.  

What was it like performing this piece for the second time, this time without camper involvement, but with Annex Dance Company?
Kristin: It is always incredible to me how much we are able to accomplish at camp. Creating a new work and performing it with the campers in less than two weeks is challenging…and very rewarding.  Once back in Charleston we spent over a month working with the choreography, exploring the partnering, and finding new ways to be connected to one another and the music.

Taylor: The biggest difference was the playfulness we found as a company, which may have made it even more inviting for the audience. I love this piece, so I was all smiling the whole time while performing it this time around.

Taylor Bennett and Sydni Shaffer. Right Here. Right Now. The Pearlstine Theatre, Charleston, SC 2021. PC: DJ Connor. 

Was there anything from camp that you took with you into your most recent performance?
Kristin: Even with all the changes, I still felt very connected to the campers as I workshopped the piece and performed it with the company. 

Taylor: I took the joy from camp and used it in the most recent performance. At Camp Ballibay the campers were always having fun and enjoying their craft. I was doing the same while I performed this piece. 

We are so looking forward to the work Annex Dance Company will bring to Camp Ballibay in 2022! If you have a project you started at Ballibay that has continued and transformed during the off-season, please reach out to us! We would love to feature you on our next Balli-blog.
Taylor: The biggest difference was the playfulness we found as a company, which may have made it even more inviting for the audience. I love this piece, so I was all smiling the whole time while performing it this time around.

Tara Rooks and Bethany Willis. Right Here. Right Now. The Pearlstine Theatre, Charleston, SC 2021. PC: DJ Connor. 

SHARED SPACES/SEPARATE PLACES: COLLABORATION THROUGH THE YEARS AT BALLIBAY

February 16, 2021By sarah galante

As artists, this strange year has brought about innumerable challenges. New and complicated questions are constantly arising as we attempt to create work in 2020-2021. Questions like, how do we continue to showcase our work when venues and galleries are closed to the public? How do we transition to virtual artmaking? And most importantly, how do we continue to be collaborative – a facet of art-making and of creativity that is essential to its growth and survival – when we are forced to be in isolation?  Camp director Kristin Alexander is no stranger to collaborative art-making. While not at camp she is the artistic director of Annex Dance Company – a professional modern dance company dedicated to performance, collaboration, and education rooted in her home, Charleston, South Carolina. Kristin and her company have worked in new and imaginative ways throughout their 2020-2021 season to not only bring dance to their community (and beyond) but to stay true to their philosophies of performance, collaboration, and education. 

A new series presented by Annex this year is entitled, Shared Spaces/Separate Places, pairing company members up with dance artists from around the country for a shared improvisation. Kristin immediately wanted to reach out to dancer and former Camp Ballibay camper, Lisa Kwak!

Lisa Kwak

Kristin Alexander

Kristin Alexander

Lisa, a Dance Intensive camper at Ballibay from 2009-2011, is now a professional dancer living in Seattle, Washington. She works with Dani Tirrell and the Congregation, The Guild Dance Company, and PRICEArts N.E.W. When not in rehearsal or taking dance classes, Lisa works at the University of Washington’s Department of Dance as their Operations and Media Specialist. 

When asked about the inspiration for the improvisation with former camper Lisa, Kristin said:

We chose REMINISCE and NOSTALGIA as our prompts.  Having a place like Ballibay as our connection reminded us of physical places like the studios, the hillside, the theatre as well as people and experiences over the summers we shared. After we improvised, we talked about the similarity of our experience in being present in our own space, aware of our shared virtual space and each other’s environment, and feeling connected to spaces at Ballibay.”

I got a chance to speak with Kristin and Lisa about the improvisation, their collaboration, and their shared experience at Ballibay. After so many years apart, (and this last year apart from regular social and collaborative connection) it was clear that Lisa and Kristin really enjoyed this time together. In speaking about her experience at Ballibay many summers ago, Lisa said: 

“When I was collaborating with Kristin I felt reminded of the feelings and sounds, scents-- sensations that I felt at Ballibay, more than specific memories. At the same time, I felt pulled into the 15-inch computer screen where Kristin was dancing, while also being aware of my current physical surroundings and body.  So, it was sort of a bizarre mix of being present with myself, being present in Zoom with Kristin and also accessing some forgotten crumbs of memories that you can feel but not quite envision - all at the same time.” 

It was clearly a special moment for Kristin, as well. Lisa had collaborated with Annex Dance company as a camper, and those special moments of collaboration and strong feelings of reminiscing clearly fueled their latest socially distanced duet. 

“It was amazing to feel a connection with someone after so many years with so many miles between us.  The last Annex Dance Company piece Lisa performed as a camper started with a solo that I had originally performed.  Even though the work has been performed a few times since then, I don't think anyone besides the two of us have danced that solo.  For me, the feelings of that piece rushed back when Lisa's smiling face popped up on Zoom.”

Those special moments were not forgotten by Lisa either. She continued to speak of her experiences as a camper at Ballibay saying,

 “I think more than anything Ballibay gave me confidence in myself and in my art. That was one of the first places I can remember where adults didn’t talk down to me, and where I felt really seen and respected and supported as a growing human being. I think that was huge for me as a teenager. And I don’t think that I would have had the guts to pursue dance again in college had I not had those formative experiences at Ballibay.” 

Collaborating on this piece was also a reminder of the important work created at Ballibay by Kristin every summer. An important reminder that camp holds such a special place in her heart, not just as a camp director, but as an artist. 

My summers at Ballibay fuel my creative and collaborative spirit.  So much happens day-to-day as a camp director, but I also walk away with meaningful moments shared with campers and staff in the studio and on the stage.  I love the creative process, and each summer I either start new work on the campers that eventually becomes a part of the company repertory or take a piece of existing repertory and set it on the campers.  Either way, new doors of possibility are opening up and informing my choreographic voice.  

You can watch Kristin and Lisa’s performance of Shared Spaces/Separate Places, here. After a long year of being apart, it is so immensely inspirational to watch members of the Ballibay community find new and innovative ways to collaborate alongside one another. It is proof, that even in these trying times, our community is resilient, dedicated, and innovative. Watching this gorgeous duet makes me not only excited for the inevitability of more collaborative pieces to arise in Summer 2021, but incredibly proud of the staff and alumni that I have the privilege of continuing to watch perform, create, and grow.