I served as Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer for Vibrations Dance Company (VDC) for 12 seasons. I am thankful to Evie Belton for giving me an opportunity to grow and for seeing something special in me. Together we created a home for many young artists who may not have had a place to call home otherwise. And that family created works that inspired and healed and entertained. We created dialogue and conversation on important issues. We shined a light on the imbalances in our community and pioneered efforts to bridge gaps.
We were a company for the community and for the culture. Evie's dream became my dream and we all worked hard to see many of those dreams come true. VDC was a game changer in Columbia. Ahead of its time and responsible for a lasting legacy of powerful dance and empowering young artists and minds particularly black dance artists, other artists of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Providing support and opportunities to be active and engage. To express themselves authentically and to make their voices heard.
VDC is forever FAMILY.
I was a student at U of SC and I had choreographed a solo for myself, which I actually refer to as a duet for dancer and a single chair. The music was ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra and this solo would become a pivotal part of my journey and trajectory as an artist. Choreography quickly became my new language and mechanism for navigating the world. And VDC became the foundation upon which everything I would do next and everything I would become was built on.
One night after a performance of “That’s Life” in my college dance show, a fierce and fabulous woman named Evie Belton approached me. She invited me into the place where I first found belonging. Vibrations Dance Company. VDC was where I was able to dream and play. I was able to explore and thrive as a dancer and choreographer. I was able to connect to the community by creating dances that spoke to them and sparked conversation. I was able to reflect the stories of my family and the complications of my own journey.
The VDC rep was my living diary. An anthology of stories and images and thoughts carved into space and time. VDC was an experience in RHYTHM. I was experiencing life through the creative process of creating dances. Both Orlando Ballet and Sarasota Contemporary Dance would eventually commission ‘That’s Life’ as a work.
I performed the solo myself at the American College Dance Festival and the late great Fernando Bujones was one of the adjudicators. He was so moved by the piece and my performance that he told me on the spot that he was going to hire me to come and set the piece for his dancers at the then Southern Ballet Theatre. And he did. It was my first job as a professional choreographer. It started my career as a professional in every way possible and has been one of the most rewarding evolutions of a dance in my entire career.
Vibrations Dance Company (VDC) was established in Columbia, South Carolina by dance instructor-fitness expert Evie Belton and her business partner, T. Michael Wright, in 1997.
Evie's vision was to establish an ensemble - a dance collective - to explore and express the African-American aesthetic through the performance of spiritual, blues, modern, and jazz dances that reflect and exhibit African-American social, cultural and artistic existence throughout the world, especially in the United States. The company’s wide ranging repertoire, primarily representing original work by Artistic Director and Choreographer Terrance Henderson, includes traditional, contemporary, experimental and avant-garde approaches/genres. A native of Newberry, SC, Henderson calls upon his studies of West African dance, tap, jazz, modern and ballet to craft VDC’s imaginative and awe-inspiring works of grace, strength and beauty, all markedly influenced by Henderson’s strong theatre background.
VDC is a company of and for the people of South Carolina. Many of the dancers, all of whom are SC residents, received their training within the Company. Several company members were once apprentice dancers from local high schools and colleges, training under senior company members. VDC conducts and participates in community outreach programs for education and community development. VDC also holds direct partnerships with local school districts and is regularly invited as a guest artist in school districts throughout the state.
In 2003, VDC joined forces with Dr. Lucia A. Pirisi-Creek and a diverse group of artists and arts supporters to found the South Carolina Multicultural Arts Center, Inc. (SC McAC, Inc.) with the mission of supporting multicultural arts in the community as a vehicle of education, community building, and healing.
At the same time VDC has earned international recognition and national attention as well as raised the bar in Contemporary Dance in South Carolina. VDC has also been a leader in building a more connected dance community by consistently partnering with other artists and companies as well as inviting many other performers to share the stage. VDC has performed side by side with world-renowned companies at the Jazz Dance World Congress, where Henderson was invited three times as a finalist of the Leo’s Competitive Choreography Event, a prestigious international competition reserved to professional choreographers. In 2009 Henderson received the Bronze Leo Award with the piece “Stand” choreographed specifically for VDC.
VDC embraced and helped develop SC McAC’s “Artists Against Breast Cancer” a research and community outreach program that uses the arts to promote breast cancer awareness in South Carolina