Reminiscing Ten Years in Charleston

Everyone who has danced with Annex over the past ten years has been instrumental in the company’s transition to a new city and sustaining Annex Dance Company as an integral member of Charleston’s arts community.  During the month of May we will be featuring interviews with some of our past and present company members in honor of our Ten Years in Charleston!

Sydni Shaffer

As a dance professor at the College of Charleston, Kristin has a unique opportunity to get to know her students as a faculty member and choreographer.  In spring 2017, Sydni auditioned for Annex Dance Company’s Maymester residency at the College of Charleston, which culminated in a performance featuring both students and the company during the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Sydni was cast in two duets with company members Cathy Cabaniss and Julie Clark.  Kristin can vividly remember the conversations that she had with Cathy and Julie about Sydni; they appreciated her focused work ethic and the ease in finding a genuine connection in such a short rehearsal period.  A year later, Kristin approached Sydni about becoming the company apprentice during her senior year, a position which she has held for two years.  Last week Kristin informed the dancers that Sydni is officially becoming a company member!  As our newest company member, we asked Sydni to reflect on being a part of Annex and share how it has shaped who she is today.

What is your favorite part of dancing and creating with Annex?

My favorite part of dancing and creating with Annex is the collaborative nature of the company. Whether it be between company members or other artists, collaboration is a large part of what I’ve done with Annex. It allows for inspiration and strong relationships, which is fulfilling.

Rehearsal for Second Glances
Charleston, SC – 2019

What is an experience/memory with Annex that you feel has shaped you as an artist?

There are many instances that come to mind when I think of how Annex has shaped me as an artist, but the one that sticks out the most is our performance at the Free Verse Poetry Festival (2018). It was my first performance as an apprentice with the company and the preparation as well as performance challenged me both mentally and physically as a dancer. I feel it prepared me for what would come during my time with Annex.

Sydni Shaffer, Cathy Cabaniss, Aimee Gwynne
rehearsing W-I-L-D for the Free Verse Poetry Festival
Charleston, SC – 2018

Which piece do you find that you cherish and look forward to performing again? And why?

One of the pieces I cherish most is the duet I have performed with Julie in THE RED SUITCASE entitled ‘Travel Item’. The first time I saw this piece performed I was in awe, so I was very excited to learn I would be performing it in THE RED SUITCASE. It is a piece that requires connection to your partner and yourself, and when all the parts fall together in the right way it feels amazing. The choreography captures me and challenges me on many levels.

How do you feel Annex has impacted the start of your career?

Annex has provided me with the opportunity to perform, learn, and create on a professional level in Charleston and beyond. Not only has the company allowed me to grow as an artist, it has helped me grow as a person. I have no doubt I will always have with me the values in dance and life that I have gained from working with Annex.

Moments Captured
Charleston, SC – 2019
Posted in 10 Years in Charleston