story by Brittany Shepard
Southeast Alabama Dance Company
In 1978, Tracy Solomon founded The Southeast Alabama Dance Company (SEADAC) and just one year later the company produced its first performance of The Nutcracker.
Since then, the company has grown into a powerhouse dance company boasting world-renowned instructors and choreographers, numerous national awards and exclusive partnerships with the Southeast Regional Ballet Association.
Each year, SEADAC’s production of The Nutcracker is one of the most anticipated holiday events in Dothan. Their 37th production will be performed at the Dothan Civic Center December 4 – 6, 2015.
Company dancers work for months to prepare to perform such an elaborate ballet. The company also utilizes over 100 community dancers over age six besides the thirty-one members in the company.
“Our joke is that Christmas starts in August at the dance studio while we are immersed in beautiful Christmas music to prepare for this spectacular production,” said Artistic Director Ashlie Wells.
Wells is the daughter of founder Solomon and has been a part of SEADAC since she was a child. The foundation in dance she formed at SEADAC led to her being able to perform with the Radio City Rockettes and teach classes at The American Ballet Theatre and The Broadway Dance Center in New York.
“I have been dancing since the age of three and teaching dance for twenty years,” said Ashlie. “And I have loved every minute of it. I feel that God blessed me with this opportunity to work with youth and share my passion.”
Ashlie said that dance adds so much to the community including culture, arts, history and passion. The mission of SEADAC is to make performance art, specifically classical ballet, available for students who are serious about formal training.
The company impacts the community by offering professional performances to the general public, local schools and other organizations. SEADAC also offers outreach programs to community organizations like the Cultural Arts Ceneer, Girls Incorporated and now through a partnership with Dothan City Schools called D.A.N.C.E (Delivering Arts Now in Children’s Education).
“The most rewarding thing to me about having this opportunity to work with dance and art in our community is that I get to see the inner beauty inside someone soar, which is farm more beautiful than the other and far more difficult to tap into,” said Ashlie. “I want to be a part of as many programs as possible in our community because it is a proven fact that exercise/dance ignites and strengthens the brain.”
She believes this is why D.AN.C.E is so important and looks forward to partnering with more and more schools in the future.
SEADAC is and nonprofit organization led by a board of directors and funded by several sources including the Alabama State Council for the Arts, several regional and state grants as well as generation donations from local businesses and individuals.
For more information on how to enroll in dance classes, purchase tickets, participate in productions or become a sponsor, visit www.southeastalabamadancecompany.org or call (334)702-7139.