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This just in from the company:

Ballet Memphis Announces 20th Anniversary Season

Organization: Ballet Memphis

Announcement: 2006–2007 season performance schedule

Venues: Listed below

Cost: $20-$70

Dates: Listed below

Box Office: (901) 737-7322, ext. 302

Web: www.balletmemphis.org

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Ballet Memphis under the direction of Dorothy Gunther Pugh has announced its 2006–2007 season. The season will mark the company’s 20th anniversary. In 2006–2007, Ballet Memphis will celebrate its milestones as a professional dance company while anticipating future achievements. The performance schedule is as follows:

  • Momentum 8: Home of Pure Dance, Pure Music, September 8–10, Gibson Lounge: Ballet Memphis celebrates Memphis’ great Gibson guitarists and the choreography of company member Garrett Ammon and company alumnus Joseph Jefferies.
  • Classically Cool: Bringin’ Down the House, October 7–8, Orpheum Theatre: Ballet Memphis revisits Lila York’s Breathless and premieres a new ballet by Julia Adam based on a Eudora Welty work. The company also honors its classical roots with a ballet by George Balanchine.
  • Nutcracker: Home for the Holidays, December 15–17, Orpheum Theatre: Ballet Memphis channels its past, present and future with a fresh take on a familiar classic.
  • Trey Bien!: The McIntyre Residency, February 10–11, Orpheum Theatre: Ballet Memphis honors Trey McIntyre as he marks his five-year milestone as resident choreographer of the company.
  • Connections: Architecture, March 23–25, Ballet Memphis Studio: The Connections Series continues at our award-winning building with a focus on architecture.
  • The Wizard of Oz: There’s No Place Like Home, April 28–29, Germantown Performing Arts Centre: Ballet Memphis’ final show of the season is a world-premiere ballet based on the movie version of the L. Frank Baum tale.

Programs, dates and venues are subject to change.

In addition, due to popular demand, the company will present a special event based on the “fabulous food-meets-delectable dance” premise of the 2005-2006 season’s highly successful Connections: Food at The BRIDGES Center on Dec. 2, 2006.

“You could say this 20th season celebrates who we are as a home, or as a community,” Pugh said. “Ballet Memphis is a place where all kinds of different people come together to create, to learn, to examine and reflect, and to improve upon what we care about. It is a place where growth, experimentation and honest expression are nourished. Isn’t that what most of us would like our homes to be? Whether in our family, our workplace, our city or our nation, we want to examine and explore, going outward to learn and to give who we are to others and bring back what we’ve discovered on our adventures to create even more and go out and give again.

“We have, in effect, taken our home out to many places as we’ve danced all over the city, and in many other places in the nation, often performing our Memphis Project works,” Pugh continued. “We have built an architecturally significant home in our studios here. We bring nationally renowned artists to our city in the form of dancers who live here and choreographers and designers who come to work with us and get to know and love our city.

“Over the years, in our Ballet School and Pilates Centre and through educational enrichment programs, we have taught thousands and thousands of children and adults to understand and respect their bodies. We have received national awards and attention from members of the press around the world. We even have been called a national treasure. We have a lot to celebrate!”

Ballet Memphis is a creative resource to the nation as a maker and interpreter of the Mid-South region’s cultural legacy through dance, production and training. Artistic Director Dorothy Gunther Pugh founded the company in 1986 as Memphis Concert Ballet with two professional dancers and a budget of $75,000. Today, Ballet Memphis employs 14 professional dancers and has a $2.6 million budget. The company performs at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Memphis, as well as at non-traditional venues throughout the city. Ballet Memphis has performed in Paris, New York, Houston, Quebec and, most recently, on the Inside/Out Series at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass. The Joyce Theater recently invited the company to perform there in April 2007. Ballet Memphis also tours to local schools and performs for more than 15,000 students annually.


My addendum: Link to BalletMemphis.org

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I was able to attend Ballet Memphis' show, Trey Bien.

My favorite piece was "Touched". The stage curtains open to a dark stage. The dancers use flashlights to show their arms and their feet as they dance. The dancers did a neat thing opening the piece with their arm, wrist, and hand undulating and shown only by the flashlight. They also spotlighted their feet with the flashlights as they walked. The flashlights were used in cannons with three groups. This piece also had sections that were not dark but had regular stage lighting. Dancers were costumed in baggy grey pants and black tank tops or maybe 'wife beater tops'-I can't remember. Rachel Shumake was given a soloist role in this piece; she is the company's only apprentice and has been with the company since 2002--this was a great opportunity for her and she did an excellent job.

I can't remember much more about this show; I should have written my thoughts down just after watching it.

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