Winter Mix | Ballet Memphis

February 26-27, March 4-6, 2022

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A return to Playhouse!

Ballet Memphis returns to Playhouse on the Square stage! This program of works by George Balanchine, Trey McIntyre, and Brandon Ramey promises to inspire, uplift, and excite.

Ballet is Back! Join us at Playhouse on the Square for classic dance set to the American songbook.

Details

Performed to Bach’s Concerto in D minor for two violins, this work was first performed in 1946 and remains in the repertoire of ballet companies around the world. The convergence of music and balletic technique is made visible in this work for a corps of 10 women. Concerto Barocco is widely recognized as a masterpiece of composition and artistry.

Former New York Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macauley says of this piece, "Nobody dies, nobody falls to the ground, nobody falls in love- but much does happen. A group of women becomes a vision of pulsating classicism and gleaming American energy."

Trey McIntyre has a long history with Ballet Memphis having created a number of important works for the company's repertoire including “In Dreams,” “Memphis Suite,” and “High Lonesome."

For this program, Trey will continue his tradition of choreographing to popular music. This world premiere will use the music of country music legend Patsy Cline as inspiration. Trey’s mastery at combining the balletic form with contemporary idioms to create unique dances filled with great emotional depth and physical power.

McIntyre says, "The piece plays with the tropes of romance and pulls apart the songs to try and discover what is under the gloss of romanticism. I'm also using several of Patsy Cline's more upbeat songs, which I don't think she's as known for. I'm thinking about my grandmother a lot and her grounded, salt-of-the-earth personality, and also her open-heartedness and love."

Company dancer Brandon Ramey’s sensitivity to scale and detail will come together to make a new work for our company that questions "What are the fundamental elements that define and set apart humanity in a quickly automating world?” Brandon will explore the idea that we are more unique in “how we do” rather than “what we do.”

After reading The Most Human Human by Brian Christian, Ramey became intrigued by the idea of artificial intelligence emulating human behavior and what that means for humanity in a quickly automating world. As workers, and even artists, how do we avoid becoming replicable and eventually replaceable?

This work explores these ideas by using music from David Cope's artificial intelligence composition program, which he has named Emily Howell. Emily has a huge music library that she analyzes for musical patterns and mannerisms. She can then produce scores in the style of long-dead composers. Consider the piece as a Turing test for the audience – can they hear the humanity in a composition, or does Emily's algorithm fool them?

He explains, "I am so often disturbed by how much of my communication with fellow humans is digital; how all the content/media/art I consume is filtered through an algorithmic approximation of my preferences. So many people create things that they know will be favored by these algorithms. Recent experience has shown us that these algorithms seem to like misinformation, deceit, and division. In the face of increasing virtualization, how can we still be the most human humans possible? I want the audience to leave feeling reinvigorated towards uniquely human traits: creativity, empathy, compassion, and love."