First Day Behind-the-Scenes

First, let me introduce myself. I am Joan Biddle, and I’ll be blogging from the Ballet Memphis studios. I am excited for this opportunity to provide (and get) a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Ballet Memphis Company. I studied with Ballet Memphis back when it was Memphis Concert Ballet and danced in several ballets with them growing up. I now dance with modern dance collective Project: Motion – a company that was nurtured in its beginning by Ballet Memphis when Ballet Memphis provided studio space for their rehearsals.  

Monday morning was overcast and a flock of blackbirds flew overhead as I drove, in perfect unison. Then, one turned and the others followed, again in unison but going in the other direction. As I entered the studio to watch the company taking class, I sat in the hallway outside the studio and saw them through the glass doing chaîné and piqué turns across the floor. They were in unison and moving so quickly. How do these human artists reflect nature so beautifully?

This was my first day observing in the studio. What a joy to watch the dancers take class and rehearse for Family Matters! There is a lot of work that goes on, rehearsing moves again and again to get it right. As Crystal Brothers told me, “It’s magical, but it’s not magic.” Many of the dancers have up to two understudies practicing their parts along with them to the sides of the studio.  

Tamara Hoffmann led a rehearsal for High Lonesome – a piece set to the music of Beck and choreographed by Trey McIntyre (see Hideko Karasawa and Kendall G. Britt Jr. pictured above). Karl Condon led the rehearsal for George and Betty’s House, a piece choreographed by Danial Shapiro and Joanie Smith. I’ll just say, wow. You’ll be in for a delightful surprise with these innovative pieces of dance. As a new mom I could definitely appreciate the frantic parents and the tantrum-throwing baby danced by Daniel Russell Cooke in George and Betty’s House. I admire all of the dancers’ stamina, patience and hard work already!

Posted by Joan Biddle at 7:38 PM
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1/31/2013 at 09:16 AM by Cynthia Saatkamp

I've never seen High Lonesome but I've always heard about the piece y'all do to Beck, so I'm excited!

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