Bijoux and Ballet

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.”  


Steven 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.  

Posted by Joan Biddle at 2:12 PM
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