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Art Makes Columbus: Samantha Lewis Dedicates Her Life to Dance

Walker Evans Walker Evans Art Makes Columbus:  Samantha Lewis Dedicates Her Life to Dance
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columbus-makes-artArt Makes Columbus. Columbus Makes Art. The Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) is launching a new five-year marketing campaign to highlight the innovation and connectedness in the local arts community. The new program will highlight both individual artists and organizations from a wide variety of visual and performing arts mediums, with a goal of increasing awareness and boosting arts patronage all across Columbus.

This week, Columbus Underground is presenting a series of interviews with local creatives to find out what being an artist means to them, what they face as challenges, and what their hopes for the future are.

Samantha Lewis was practically raised by the ballet. She started with BalletMet’s academy when she was four years old and grew into the professional training company there while still in high school. After graduating, she joined the company as an apprentice and is now in her seventh season there as a professional dancer. The level of dedication she’s put into this unconventional career choice is both admirable and impressive.

“I always loved the perfectionist nature of ballet,” explains Lewis. “It’s very specific and very detail oriented. I don’t know if everyone realizes that BalletMet is one of the only professional companies in Columbus, which means that you really get to see professional dancers working when you see a performance.”

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Getting audiences out to see performances and expose them to the world of Ballet is an ongoing challenge, even though the company is well known and highly regarded.

“It all comes down to education,” says Lewis. “For a population that might already know we exist, they need to know about why they should be coming to see the exciting work we do. We need funds from ticket sales, but we also need an audience that enjoys being in their seats.”

Lewis says that she hopes that the new Columbus Makes Art / Art Makes Columbus marketing campaign from the Greater Columbus Arts Council will help raise that type of visibility all throughout the city. More specifically, she feels that there are some key audiences that could be targeted and tapped into.

“I teach dance at a small studio in Pickerington and those students and parents are a demographic that should be easy to reach,” she explains. “Going to the ballet can be expensive, but we have open rehearsals that are free and some other ways to get involved that don’t involve a $200 evening.”

Lewis says that traditional performing arts are a departure from modern entertainment options where technology has gotten everyone used to consuming information at an accelerated rate. As a society, we now expect to receive all types of information much more rapidly than ever before.

“I don’t want to use the word slow, but the ballet is not instant information,” she says. “You have to follow a storyline and be invested in the piece. It’s much different from going on Youtube and clicking on video clips for 30 seconds at a time. So it can be hard to get people to commit. Our job is really to educate our audience first so they have the knowledge of what they’re seeing and how to appreciate it.”

Lewis says that continued collaborations with other organizations like the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and Cincinnati Ballet is another way she hopes their work can reach new audiences. Keeping things fresh helps to keep the organization buzzing with excitement.

“The reason we do this is because we’re passionate,” she says. “It’s easy to come to work every day because everyone from the marketing team to the directors to the dancers are all very passionate and driven. It’s nice to work with a group that feels the same way that you do. I don’t think every work place can say that.” 

To read more of Samantha’s story, CLICK HERE to visit www.columbusmakesart.com.

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