“Invitation to the Dance,” a short documentary film by Sarah Shoemaker, executive director of International Ballet in Greenville, was named Best Overall Film at the Tryon International Film Festival earlier this month.
The sixth annual film festival was held virtually Oct. 9-11 and featured 88 films from all over the world. Prizes were awarded in multiple categories, but Shoemaker’s work was awarded the highest honor, according to a release.
“Invitation to Dance” introduces Lena Forster and her adult special needs ballet class, which meets weekly at International Ballet. Shoemaker followed five students through a year of dance and life, offering viewers a perspective often overlooked and an opportunity to witness the experiences of those who were most impacted by working with the dancers.
“The film seeks to explore questions about life, community and our ability to appreciate both the gifts and the limits of each of us,” Shoemaker said in the release.
As a former professional dancer, teacher and choreographer, Shoemaker has worked in professional ballet companies, private dance studios and independent schools in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. She was the director of dance at the Ensworth School and Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, the marketing director at the Augusta Ballet and a dancer at Charleston Ballet Theatre.
Shoemaker served as the choreographer for TD Bank’s Annual Wow! Awards tour before joining the team at International Ballet in 2015.