Today we’d like to introduce you to Crystal Wellman.
Crystal, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
After dancing in professional ballet companies for close to two decades, and in Charleston for eight of them, I decided to venture out on my own and start Unbound Ballet Project. I wanted to create a new way of presenting art and professional ballet in the low country.
When I originally formed the company, I observed that by tapping into people’s outside interests, such as food, drink, music, and art I could appeal to a larger, more diverse audience.
My hope is to make professional dance more inclusive and approachable for people while fostering an appreciation for a high standard of quality in what we do. In short, I want people who aren’t fans of ballet to become fans of ballet by connecting with them in unique ways.
The company hires between eight to twelve dancers each summer season and presents works by me and other collaborators and choreographers who share our common goal.
Our final production for the 2022 season is coming up this August. We will be performing at The Refinery downtown alongside Jenifer Padilla who will be painting throughout the evening and Jared Aaronson who will be DJ-ing as doors open at 6 pm.
Tickets are available online at www.crystalwellman.com.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It hasn’t always been a smooth road to funding shows and finding affordable spaces to perform.
Like most small business owners, wearing multiple hats has presented its challenges as I continue to dance professionally and teach full-time outside of my projects as a choreographer and director.
Unbound continually works to get the word out about what we’re doing so we can keep engagement high and stay relevant to our audience. It truly takes a village.
We depend on the support of our community and always work to form new connections and collaborate with other artists so we can continue to grow our presence and build the arts scene in Charleston.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
As an artist, I feel that one of my strengths is continually creating and finding new inspiration. But I believe my biggest strength has always been as a visionary.
When I first imagine a show, I see the final product as a cohesive whole with strong through-lines and unified themes. I believe this keeps the viewer engaged and takes them on a journey, whether that’s within a specific narrative or a looser, more abstract idea.
At Unbound, we often hear about how our shows move our audiences to feel or resonate with them and their stories. Whether it’s intentional, or the product of an individual’s interpretation, dance has a unique way of connecting us with our humanity.
What were you like growing up?
I’ve been the same my whole life. I’ve always been creative.
When I was young, I choreographed entire ballets and performed them for an audience of stuffed animals. I’ve always been fiery and determined- always looking for opportunities to make art.
- Adult ticket: $30
- Student ticket: $15
- Some group rates and discounts may apply
- Website: www.crystalwellman.com
- Instagram: @unboundballetproject
Joseph Nienstedt, Taylor Jarvis, John Sease, and Erin Chrisman