The Ballet Memphis New American Dance Residency Puts the Emphasis on Local Culture
The Ballet Memphis New American Dance Residency, which welcomes selected choreographers for its inaugural iteration next week, goes a step beyond granting space, time and dancers for the development of new work.
Over a period of two weeks, the dancemakers will visit important Memphis cultural sites, such as the National Civil Rights Museum and the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, and meet with local experts on Memphis music history, Southern literature and social justice. The goal is to both help develop new choreographers and to encourage the pursuit of research-driven, community-oriented work.
Crystal Michelle PerkinsCourtesy Ballet Memphis
In a press release, associate artistic director Steven McMahon, who oversees the program, noted, "It is rare for ballet choreographers to not only immerse themselves within the local culture in which they are working, but to also allow the city or region to inform their creative process."
This year's selected residents are Valerie D. Alpert, Tommie-Waheed Evans, Michael Medcalf and Crystal Michelle Perkins. The four will gather for a panel discussion (free to the public) reflecting on the experience at the conclusion of the residency on Friday, April 26.
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.
You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)
Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of: