Ballet Memphis Spring Mix

February 15–24, 2019

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Earth, water and sky through different eyes.

Always fresh, this colorful and quirky celebration of the Earthly elements around us includes Steven McMahon’s birdlike fun of the Mississippi Flyway, with inspiration from visual artist and Rhodes College Professor of Art and History, Erin Harmon; Julia Adam’s water-themed Dew Point, with its playful props and soundtrack featuring an eclectic musical mix from Louis Armstrong to Jeff Buckley; and a new work from Rafael Ferreras, Heartwoods, about the trees' protection of our warming Earth and how we need to protect them in return, completes the evening.

Friday, Feb 15, 8p
Saturday, Feb 16, 8p
Sunday, Feb 17, 2p
Friday, Feb 22, 8p (free spark! starts at 7p)
Saturday, Feb 23, 8p
Sunday, Feb 24, 2p

"Flyway," by Steven McMahon, is a whimsical, colorful work inspired initially by the many peculiarities, behaviors, and patterns that birds exhibit in this setting.
Chris Davis, Memphis Flyer



Choreographer: Steven McMahon

Premiere: 2014 as part of the River Project series

Costume Designer: Bruce Bui

Lighting Designer: Andrew Meyers

Visuals: Erin Harmon

Music: “Seoul and Sexfaldur” by Amiina from Kurr and “Silent Flight, Sleeping  Dawn” by MONO from Hymn to the Immortal Wind

Choreographer’s Note: "The Mississippi Flyway is a major thoroughfare for many North American birds. It provides these birds with unobstructed passage and an important respite on their twice-a-year migration. I am interested in the many peculiarities, behaviors and patterns that birds exhibit in this setting, and desired to reimagine them through my own choreographic lens. Visual artist Erin Harmon has given these birds a vivid, fantastical home on the stage, inspired by the natural beauty of the Mississippi and the inherent beauty of the birds themselves."


Choreographer: Julia Adam

Premiere: 2012 as part of Connections: Earth and Sky

Costume Designer: Bruce Bui

Music: “La Vie en Rose” from His Decca Years by Louis Armstrong, “Aquarium” from Carnival of the Animals VII by Barry Wordsworth and the London Symphony Orchestra (Bizet, Ravel, Saint-Saëns), “I Saw a Ship A-Sailing” from Leave Your Sleep by Natalie Merchant, “Swimming Song” by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, “The Poet Acts” from The Hours by Philip Glass, “Hallelujah” from Grace by Jeff Buckley.

Choreographer’s Notes: A collage of water-filled images that give one a feeling of the cycle of life, from the 1940s swimsuits to my homage to the river beside which Memphis rests. Sometimes playful, sometimes somber, often poetic.

Julia Adam (Choreographer, Dew Point) hails from Ottawa, Ontario.  At age 13, she entered the National Ballet School in Toronto and, upon graduation in 1983, spent five years with the National Ballet of Canada.  She joined the San Francisco Ballet in 1988, becoming a principal dancer in 1996. Among the choreographers that created works for her are Helgi Tomasson, Mark Morris, William Forsythe, James Kudelka and Nacho Duato.  In 2002, Julia retired from dancing and quickly gained recognition as one of the dance world’s rising talents in choreography. Since 1996, Julia has been commissioned to create more than 70 works for San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Nashville Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and more. She has created and set more than 10 works on Ballet Memphis. Julia has been featured in Dance Magazine, and she received the Isadora Duncan Award for Choreography. She currently resides in the Bay Area and is the Artist in Residence at Marin Ballet and Co- Founder/Artistic Director of Julia Adam Dance.

Steven McMahon (Choreographer, Flyway) joined Ballet Memphis in 2001 as a dancer and has created more than a dozen ballets for Ballet Memphis, including his first full-length ballet, Wizard of Oz as well as Soul Selects Her Own Society, Confluence, The Royal We and Peter Pan. His other new ballets for Ballet Memphis include Carnival of the Animals, Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella. Steven also has choreographed many original works including The Lovely Story of Us, which was performed in Helsinki, Finland, at the International Ballet Competition, and two of his works, Being Here With Other People and Confluence, have been performed at the Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis. His works also have been performed at Organizacion Para La Artes in Guatemala and at other venues around the nation. His first ballet, What Your Soul Sings, premiered at Ballet Memphis’ Interiorworks. He was a 2016 National Arts Strategies Senior Management Institute fellow as well as a fellow in the 2016 Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in Salzburg, Austria. Steven, who is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, joined the Company after completing his training at The Ailey School in New York City. He retired from the stage in 2016.He is currently the Company’s Associate Artistic Director.

Rafael Ferreras (Choreographer) received his ballet training in New York with Dance Theatre of Harlem and Joffrey Ballet. Memphis audiences know him for his lead roles in Steven McMahon’s Romeo and Juliet, in Mark Godden’s Firebird and Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as in Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Dracula. He also performed in Trey McIntyre’s Memphis, The Naughty Boy, Touched, Second Before The Ground and High Lonesome. He danced in Dana Tai Soon Burgess’s Venetian Reflections, in Mark Godden’s Angels in the Architecture, and in Steven McMahon’s Peter Pan. His first mainstage ballet choreographed for Ballet Memphis, Politics, debuted in 2014 and was performed as part of a mixed repertoire program presented in New York's Joyce Theater. His second mainstage piece, Constructive Critic, paid homage to the construction teams on the new Ballet Memphis headquarters. He also created Iola Southern Fields for Hattiloo Theatre and Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit for IRIS Orchestra. Rafael joined the Company as a dancer in 2001 and retired in 2017.