I Am MLK50 Presentation


Friday, March 2nd, 2018


7:30 pm

I Am MLK50 Presentation

Four short works—I Am a Child, I Am a Woman, I Am a Man and I Am—commissioned by Ballet Memphis for our dancers in 2015 and performed together in one powerful show that not only “gives voice to the voiceless,” as Dorothy Gunther Pugh intended, but elevates the idea that dignity and kindness must ultimately speak louder than the times around us. Tickets are just $15, all ages welcome. Cash bar available before and after the performance. 

  • Friday, March 2, 7:30p
  • Saturday, March 3, 7:30p
  • Sunday, March 4, 2p

Read review here      

See background video here

I AM A CHILD, choreographed by San Franciscan Julia Adams, was initially inspired by Cornelia Parker’s 2005 sculpture “Anti- Mass” which is constructed of wire-suspended charcoal fragments from an African-American Southern Baptist church that was destroyed by arsonists. Adam thought on the feelings the sculpture triggered about loss, love, darkness and light to create this new work.

I AM A MAN: Grace and Dignity, choreographed by Reggie Wilson
, was inspired by varied images and ideas: the statement as “a declaration of civil rights as a declaration of independence against oppression”; the Wedgwood designed Anti-slavery medallion “Am I Not a Man And a Brother”; my personal family history in the 2nd wave of the great migration moving out of the crucible of the Deep South; the historical suppression and compression of life and liberty in the U.S. for African Americans; as well as Ponca chief Standing Bear and the Native Americans’ 1879 fight for habeas corpus.

I AM A WOMAN: Moult, choreographed by Gabrielle Lamb, was based on the role of women in dance and in the larger world. It seeks to form an analogy with women’s struggle for voice in society with roles in dance. Lamb received a prestigious Princess Grace Foundation–USA fellowship to create and present this work with Ballet Memphis.

I AM, choreographed by Steven McMahon
, was based on a concept called ubuntu. It's primarily South African, and translates to "I am because we are." I thought that really spoke to what Ballet Memphis is all about and I wanted to try and show that with the dancers: the best parts of yourself reflected in other people. Through our interactions with other people we are able to experience the deepest parts of our own humanity. Together we get to see the best parts of ourselves reflected back at us.