Karen Brown asked the ballet students to do more than properly perform the techniques.
"I'm not seeing 'this little light of mine' - the performer that is within you," said Brown, who taught master classes for intermediate and advanced ballet students at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans on Oct. 27 and 28.
Sponsored by the Augusta Ballet Co., the class was attended by dancers from Columbia County Ballet, Cutno Dance in Augusta and John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School.
Brown is a native Augustan who spent more than 20 years dancing with the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York. She served as the artistic director of the Oakland (California) Ballet from April 2000 until the company dissolved in February.
"Midsize companies all over the country are suffering the same plight," she said.
The Augusta Ballet Co.'s restructuring in the spring to retire its debt and nonrenewal of key contracts is "disconcerting" to Brown.
Without the staff and the dancers, the ballet company is not offering performances this season.
Brown wanted to teach the master class to "make sure there is still dance. I understand the importance of keeping dance in the public eye."
Shell Berry, the president of the Augusta Ballet Co.'s board of trustees, said the master dance class helps the company fulfill its greater mission to bring a quality of life to the community.
"This gives people an opportunity to experience this type of quality dance to augment their training," she said.
Brown's master class series is the first of three.
The Augusta Ballet Co. will team up with Davidson in February for the next class.
Stacey Calvert, a former New York City Ballet dancer, will teach four classes in February.
The classes will follow the WinterWorks performance Feb. 1, at the Imperial Theatre.
The show features an evening of music and dance featuring the George Balanchine work Apollo. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and the Augusta Symphony will be showcased in the event.
A third master class will be held in the spring; however, plans have not been finalized on the location or teacher. For more information about the classes, call the Augusta Ballet Co. at (706) 261-0555.
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