BY KATHY PICKENS
The Greenville Standard)
“Looking back at my life’s voyage, I can only say that it has been a golden trip.” These are the words of Ginger Rogers, a famous movie star and renowned dancer from Hollywood’s Golden age.
On Saturday, May 14, Greenville’s very own beloved dance instructor, Miss Susan Andrews, took her students and the audience on their own golden trip as Miss Susan’s School of Dance presented A Golden Celebration: Cheers to 50 years.
“You live as long as you dance.” This quote by famed Russian male ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev together with a long list of scripture including Psalm 51:15, 1 Peter 1:3, and 1 Corinthians 1:4, are the inspiration behind Andrews who has taught dance for 52 years from her Greenville studio.
Last year with COVID restrictions still limiting opportunities for gathering, Andrews’s students were only able to present a showcase.
This format gave parents and other attendees a behind-the-scenes look at dance lessons and a preview of bits and pieces of the jazz, tap, and ballet routines that would blossom into the 2022 recital.
The afternoon opened with lively jazz routines entitled the Roaring Twenties, the Celluloid Thirties, and the Big Band Forties.
The fun continued with tap routines to a series of “smile” songs, culminating with a solo tap routine by Vivian Gates to “When You’re Smilin’.”
After a brief intermission, the audience was treated to a performance of the one act ballet, La Boutique Fantasque.
Beautifully costumed dancers of all ages played the parts of shopkeeper, stuffed toys, tin soldier, mechanical dolls, ballerina dolls, and dolls who performed traditional Italian and Ukrainian folk dances.
When two of the dolls were set to be sold, the dancers came alive at night to rescue them.
“It really is a story of redemption. All great ballets have a rescuer,” says Andrews. She is decisive about giving all the glory and praise and credit to Jesus Christ who is our rescuer.
Following the performance, Andrews spoke to the audience from the stage and from her heart.
She overflowed with gratitude for her students and parents, for her family, and for members of the community who have loved and supported her.
On the back of the recital program, Andrews lists a loving dedication to her parents, Henry and Luna Berry; her teachers, Carmell Harrell and Elinor Sameth; the parents of her first students, Tere Williamson and Burchie Crosby; and long-time supporter of Greenville arts, Angie K. Long.
Many of her former students attended this special occasion. Andrews called them up on stage and led them in a few poses and moves, much to the delight of the audience.
Last year when asked how long she plans to teach, she responded with “as long as I can climb the hill to Miss Susan’s School of Dance.”
So congratulations, Miss Susan, for continuing to climb that hill and reach this golden milestone.