Prima Ballerina of Columbia City Ballet from 1997 to 2006 – began her ballet training with Columbia City Ballet-founder and Artistic Director Ann Brodie. In 1976 she joined the Columbia City Ballet, becoming a soloist in 1980, a principal dancer in 1982, attained the rank of a ballerina in 1984 and became a prima ballerina in 1997, going on to dance every ballerina role in the Company’s classical repertoire. She has portrayed a myriad of roles in Executive & Artistic Director William Starrett’s original ballets, including Beauty & the Beast, Dracula, Dracula’s Revenge, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, A Tribute to Fred Astaire, Don Juan, Frankenstein and Off the Wall & Onto the Stage. Choreographer Norbert Vesak chose her to dance in his ‘Belong’ pas de deux, a work which won a gold medal for choreography at the 1980 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. In 1997, she won the prestigious South Carolina Arts Commission, Fellowship. Miranda was recently featured on the cover of three compact discs produced by David Howard and has starred in many television works, notably A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake, Beauty & the Beast and Romeo & Juliet for SCETV. She is a Founder and Principal Instructor of the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. She retired from the stage in March 2006, dancing her final performances as the title role in Giselle. At her retirement gala, she was awarded the Key to the City of Columbia and the Order of the Palmetto. Since retirement, she has served as Ballet Mistress of Columbia City Ballet and as a guest instructor and choreographer.
Director & Co-Founder
Dancer, teacher, choreographer, community leader. While all true, those descriptors don’t even begin to paint a complete picture of William Starrett. From his start at San Francisco’s Ballet Celeste and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, through appearances as a principal for the Joffrey Ballet and as a member of American Ballet Theatre under the direction of both Lucia Chase and Mikhail Baryshnikov, to guest appearances with more than 40 of the world’s most renowned ballet companies, Mr. Starrett’s talent as a dancer has earned rave reviews from coast to coast as well as a medal at the very first US International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Today, though, Mr. Starrett’s formidable reputation revolves most often around his choreographic and directorial accomplishments. As director and primary choreographer for the past 20 years, he has created or staged more than 50 works – including 15 original, full-length ballets, 10 classical full-length ballets and 16 original narrated one-act ballets for children – in locations throughout the United States and Europe. Columbia City Ballet’s Educational Outreach Program, which Mr. Starrett implemented in 1989, has introduced ballet to more than half a million schoolchildren in the Southeast. He is the co-owner of Columbia Conservatory of Dance with Ballet Mistress Mariclare Miranda. In 2002, Mr. Starrett was honored by South Carolina’s governor with the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for achievement in the arts. Mr. Starrett is the official arts correspondent for WACH Fox News and the host of the weekly Arts WACH with William, a segment of WACH Fox News Good Day that airs Thursday mornings and gives an in-depth look at unique visual and performing arts events in the Midlands
Director & Co-Founder
Jordan Hawkins, born and raised in Irmo, SC, began her dance training at the age of 3 at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Mariclare Miranda and William Starrett. During her high school years she competed as a senior member of the CCDance Company. She was awarded numerous platinum and top first awards for both group and solo routines including jazz, tap, lyrical, and ballet. In 2008 she was named Senior Miss Superstar at Star Systems and Miss Dance at Kids Artistic Revue. Jordan also received full scholarships to Adrenaline Dance Convention. Attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities summer dance intensive and also participated in classes at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center and the New York City Rockettes. Now a seasoned professional dancer she has been a guest artist with South Carolina Contemporary Dance Company for three summer sessions and will be entering her ninth consecutive season with the Columbia City Ballet. Where she has had the opportunity to grow as a dancer and performer with such roles as the Rat Queen, Candy Cane, and Strawberry icecream in the Neopaltain trio of the Nutcracker and her favorite role to date, the Evil Stepmother in the Ballet’s production of Cinderella. Finding an additional passion for teaching a choreographing she has had the pleasure of teaching where she trained as well as training the new talent of the CCDance Company.
Focus: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Ballet Ball
Claire Richards Rapp
South Carolina native Claire Richards grew up studying dance at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance under the instruction of William Starrett and Mariclare Miranda. She was a member of Columbia City Ballet II for several years before joining Columbia City Ballet in 2011. During her training, Claire competed in numerous competitions, namely Youth America Grand Prix and attended prestigious summer programs with Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet West. She has also performed with Concept Zero, Ballet Spartanburg and Columbia Summer Repertory Company.
During Claire’s time with Columbia City Ballet, she has performed many soloist and principal roles, her favorites including “The Red Maiden” in Dracula, “Myrtha” in Giselle, “Sugar Plum Fairy” in the Nutcracker ballet, and “Beauty” in Beauty and the Beast. Claire is currently in her seventh season with Columbia City Ballet. She was promoted to soloist in 2014 and to principal dancer in 2017.
Carol Anne Cooley
Born and raised in Columbia, SC., Carol Anne started dancing at the age of three at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. At the age of eight she began competing with the Columbia City Jazz Company until the age of eighteen. Being a part of this company allowed her to work with choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Jason Parsons, Tyce Diorio, Mandy Moore, Ray Leeper, Lauren Adams, Desiree Robins, Doug Caldwell, Dee Caspery, Travis Wall, and Nick Lazzarini. Carol Anne also had the opportunity to travel overseas performing in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Munich, Germany, Singapore City, Singapore, and at the Tanzsommer Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria. After completing high school, Carol Anne attended Columbia College in Columbia, SC, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. As part of the Columbia College Dance Company, she performed at the American College Dance Festival Association at Florida State University and the University of Mississippi. Carol Anne also performed at the SCAPHERD Dance Festival in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where her choreography was showcased at the SCADancing Festival at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. After graduation, Carol Anne started teaching jazz and lyrical dance at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance, where she started the contemporary dance program during her second year. Currently, Carol Anne is in her tenth year at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. Carol Anne was also a member of The Power Company Collaborative Contemporary Dance Company after graduation for seven years, from 2010-2017. Being a part of POCOCO allowed her to teach several dance residencies throughout the state of South Carolina in public schools. In 2014 she joined T.O.Dance Inc., founded by Terrance Henderson, in Columbia, SC, where she currently continues to train. Carol Anne is also starting her first season, in 2019, with Moving Body Dance Company, founded by Erin Bailey. While teaching and performing, Carol Anne also has choreographed for A.C. Flora Dance, Dutch Fork Middle School Dance, and for the Beatles Ballet performed by The Columbia City Ballet, founded by William Starrett.
Focus: Lyrical, Contemporary