Ballet Memphis to premiere 'Next Steps' at Playhouse on the Square

Mixed repertory of three original works opens at Playhouse on the Square, October 15, 2016

MEMPHIS, TENN. (September 27, 2016) – – – Ballet Memphis presents three original works in its 30th Anniversary season mainstage opener, Next Steps at Playhouse on the Square. The show will run October 15-23, 2016 for seven performances.

Created and curated by Associate Artistic Director Steven McMahon (who also created one of the original works),Next Steps explores what is next for dance and what it takes to keep building a classical art form, particularly in the modern United States. The other choreographers are Mark Godden, known to Ballet Memphis audiences for his Midsummer Night’s DreamFirebird and Angels in the Architecture, and Company dancer Julie Marie Niekrasz whose last mainstage work for the Company was Corps de Fortitude for River Project II.

McMahon liked the idea of forward movement and exploration in dance and what it takes to keep building an art form. These “next steps” are looked at from three different vantage points in the history and aesthetic of dance: where did ballet go from its origins, where did it go from the Romantic Era, and what is next.


“I hope to honor the traditions of classical ballet–the beauty of the line, the structure and the language that has inspired people and culture throughout its history,” McMahon wrote of his piece, Vanguard, which explores the future of ballet. “But as society shifts and we demand that traditional barriers are broken down, we must also ask this of ballet. Can it be more democratic? Can we give voice and a place to those who are often marginalized?”


Costumes for McMahon’s ballet are by Christine Darch.


In addition to Vanguard, the other two works are:


Sa Voix by Julie Marie Niekrasz acknowledges the drama of the Romantic Era in the 1800s, as well as how costuming and movement perpetuated the image of female dancers as ethereal and often frail. Niekrasz’s piece uses female dancers employing great power and emotion to take one small step to liberating those who have been suppressed, even in art. Costumes by Susan Roemer.


A Distant Glimmer: Catherine de Medici by Mark Godden. Godden lives in Canada and has created many works for well known companies around the globe. In A Distant Glimmer, he takes a somewhat irreverent look at the origins of classical ballet in the French court and the themes Queen Catherine wanted to embody in narrative dance. Costumes by Paul Daigle. Narration written and performed by Richard Hurst.


Lighting for the program designed by Helena Kuukka.

Next Steps

October 15-23, 2016

Playhouse on the Square

66 South Cooper

Memphis, TN 38104

Tickets: $10, $25, $45

Group rates available.


Saturday, October 15 at 8pm

Sunday, October 16 at 2pm

Friday, October 21 at 8pm

Saturday, October 22 at 2pm and 8pm (Matinee is Community Day performance. All tickets are $7 and must be purchased in advance and online.)

Sunday, October 23 at 2pm