Instead of telling her what she needed to do, Peter Powlus showed Tori Scoggins the movements her body should be making.
"The arms should be close to the body," he said as he firmly held his arms in place, neither limp nor stiff.
Powlus, the former associate artistic director and resident choreographer with the Augusta Ballet and current artistic director with the Augusta Players, spent the past week setting a piece called Sister Suite for dancers with the Augusta Dance Theatre.
"It inspires me to be with young dancers," he said. "They have so much enthusiasm."
Originally choreographed for apprentice dancers at the Augusta Ballet, the piece has three movements to bluegrass music from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound track.
"I love it. It's really cool to get to try something different," said Tori, a rising freshman at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School.
The style of the dance isn't traditional ballet and has required some of the dancers to push themselves in a different direction.
"The steps are mixed with jazz and ballet," said Kateri Sheppard, a 14 year-old Columbia County home- school student. "I've never done jazz before."
Although the dancers are accustomed to spending several hours a day in the studio on Furys Ferry Road, Kateri said that she's had a few new aches since working with Powlus.
"We're using different muscles," she said.
Powlus and Ron Jones, the artistic director for the Augusta Dance Theatre, have known each other for many years.
"We've tried to work with him before, but his schedule didn't allow it," said Jones, who likes to bring in guest choreographers during the summer months to give his dancers a different view of dance.
Dancers said they enjoyed working with Powlus.
"It's sad it's coming to an end," said Lizzie Derr, a rising freshman at Greenbrier High School.
Dancers will perform the piece in September at the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center.
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