When I watch the Ballet Memphis dancers rehearsing it is sometimes with a
mix of pleasure and pain. Pleasure because of just how beautiful it is, but
also frustration that I'm not doing it with them. That I'll never again dance
in pointe shoes. That I don't feel the heat of the audience's faces and the
lights, that otherworldly place you sometimes go to when performing. Now don't
get me wrong, I am still a dancer, and am lucky enough to get to perform live
with Project: Motion, but I’m not a professional ballet dancer (that ship
sailed long ago). So Steven McMahon's words were comforting and uplifting to me
yesterday at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens' Munch and Learn, in which Steven and Ballet Memphis Partnership Manager Lauren Kennedy spoke about the
connections between ballet and the Dixon's current exhibit, Bijoux Parisiens.
Steven’s initial message was that even if you are not a professional ballet
dancer, each person has a creativity that lives in them and each person makes creative
decisions every day – the clothes they wear, the things they create. He led with
the quote by Martha Graham: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a
quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is
only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”
and Lauren touched on the history of ballet, and revealed intriguing
connections between Cartier and les Ballets Russes, Arpels and Balanchine, and
Christian LaCroix and Balanchine’s Jewels.
Steven concluded with a thought: “When
we get to look at beautiful things, I think that we’re always better.” When I
took a stroll through the exhibit and gazed at the whimsical Art Deco fashion
prints from the Petit Palais in Paris, and when I watch the dancers work through a
particularly original and moving piece of dance, I know what he means.
Ballet Memphis is gearing up for their second annual season opener fashion
show, which will take place the evening of September 7 at the Ballet Memphis
Studios (doors open at 7 and runway show begins at 8, call 901-737-7322).
This year’s En Pointe/En Vogue fashion show, again directed by Kendall G. Britt
Jr., will explore the intersection between ballet costumes and street wear.
In other news: best of luck to Kendall and Hideko who are performing in Tokyo!
Stay tuned for a rundown of our spectacular next Season of Wonder, and be sure
to like us on facebook for even more.
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