catch the first spark next Wed, Feb 6

For immediate release.  

Ballet Memphis announces launch of ‘spark: conversations with Ballet Memphis in collaboration with Crosstown Arts,’ a free monthly series Inaugural event to take place February 6  

MEMPHIS (January 25, 2013) – – – In celebration of the rich diversity of artistic activity available in Memphis, Ballet Memphis is launching spark: conversations with Ballet Memphis. Spark is a monthly series in collaboration with Crosstown Arts. The inaugural event will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at Crosstown Art at 427 N. Watkins from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Spark is the brainchild of Ballet Memphis’ Partnership Manager Lauren Kennedy who wanted to find a way to make Ballet Memphis more visible and more engaged in the Memphis community, beyond its scheduled performances. Crosstown Arts will not only contribute space but also collaborate on programming ideas and curatorial choices for the spark series.

“We are proud of the outreach and community work that is reaching kids throughout Memphis but we wanted to give others in the community the chance to benefit as well,” said Kennedy. 

As a collaborative, interdisciplinary program, spark will have a changing format and not necessarily focus on dance, said Kennedy. Panel discussions on relevant topics, lectures and film screenings are on the roster and more options illustrating the connections among creative genres will develop as the series evolves.

The first spark will be a panel discussion about the many intricate and oftentimes complex facets of family dynamics, roles and interpersonal relationships. It also will examine how family history can be used to spur artistic works, like Ballet Memphis’ forthcoming mainstage show, Family Matters, opening at Playhouse on the Square on February 22. Family Matters is a mixed-repertory show dealing with many emotional faces of family life, from loss to dysfunction to humor and love.

Spark panelists include choreographer Julia Adam, Ballet Memphis dancer Virginia Pilgrim, and University of Memphis clinical psychology professor Robert Neimeyer. Adam created her ballet Crossing on the Joffrey Ballet as a response to 9/11. First performed by Ballet Memphis in 2003, Crossing deals with the unthinkable grief that comes after losing a child. Pilgrim will discuss the process in creating the memorably harried character she dances in George and Betty’s House, created by Shapiro & Smith Dance in 1987 and last performed by Ballet Memphis in 2000. And Neimeyer will provide clinical insight into how the creative process interacts with human experience.

For more information on spark or Ballet Memphis, visit or call Lauren Kennedy at 901-737-7322. For more information about Crosstown Arts, visit or contact Emily Halpern at

About Ballet Memphis In its 26th season, Ballet Memphis serves as a creative resource to the nation as a maker and interpreter of the South’s cultural legacy through its innovative neoclassical and contemporary repertoire, as well as production and training of the highest caliber. Founded by Dorothy Gunther Pugh in 1986, Ballet Memphis employs 17 professional dancers with a $3.3 million operating budget and has performed around the world.  The combined programs of Ballet Memphis–dance company, ballet school, educational enrichment and Pilates Centre–serve 75,000 people each year.

About Crosstown Arts Located in the Crosstown neighborhood of Midtown Memphis, Crosstown Arts is dedicated to further cultivating the arts community in Memphis through events, exhibitions, programming and resources that support and showcase artists, musicians and performers. -30- Media Contact: Aimee C. McMillin, 901-857-5811 mobile           

Posted by Cynthia Saatkamp at 3:16 PM
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