Mixed Repertory Promo (2015)
Season Promo (2015-16)
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2016/2017 Tour Dates
Please check back soon for newly announced tour dates!
“The climate that Ballet Memphis brings to the stage is unorthodox, peculiar, fresh and large-spirited. The mood blowing through all of these dances is generous, imaginatively breaking rules.”
– Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times
“If there is a ballet company in the United States that takes racial integration more seriously than this one, I’d love to know about it.”
– Mindy Aloff, Dance Enthusiast
“By fearlessly taking risks on less-established artists, Pugh is championing examples that can be inspirations for future dancers and choreographers. What’s more, she’s creating something different from the same-old same-old you find on so many ballet stages.”
– Jennifer Stahl, Dance Magazine
In Dreams, performed to the expressive voice of Roy Orbison, is a sometimes dark, always passionate journey through six of the legendary artist’s most popular songs.
Matthew Neenan’s Party of the Year is inspired by the New York Times-best-selling book, The Warmth of Other Suns, about struggle, defeat and triumph during the heart of the “Great Migration,” an era between 1910 and 1970 when more than 6 million African Americans moved out of the rural South to other parts of the United States.
The company also performs story ballets, including Ballet Memphis’ Choreographic Associate Steven McMahon’s Wizard of Oz (description below), Peter Pan, and Cinderella and a production of Nutcracker.
Wizard of Oz
Red shoes and witches, poppies and munchkins, and all of Dorothy’s friends are here for this beloved story. Wizard of Oz, choreographed by Steven McMahon, is a two-act performance danced by 23 performers which has an option to incorporate up to 20 local children into the performance.
Ballet Memphis is now in its 30th season and is recognized for its close ties to the region’s rich musical and literary heritage through dance, production and training, including its lauded Memphis Project works and its River Project series. Ballet Memphis has staff and facilities of the highest caliber, and partners with artists from around the globe for collaborative and original works. The Ford Foundation lauded Ballet Memphis as a “national treasure.” The Company has received grants and high praise from other foundations and national media alike, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Dance Project, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Dance magazine, Pointe magazine and others. It has performed to excellent reviews at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., at the Joyce Theater and the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York City, at Houston’s Dance Salad, at the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveur (Canada), and Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis, among others.
Dorothy Gunther Pugh (CEO & Founding Artistic Director) founded Ballet Memphis in 1986 with two dancers and a budget of $75,000. Today, the Company has 26 dancers, a budget of more than $4.4 million, and is building a new multi-million administrative and studio space in the heart of Memphis’ arts and theatre district. Under Dorothy’s direction, Ballet Memphis has been lauded by the Ford Foundation, the Hearst Foundations, and the Mellon Foundation, among others. Dorothy has appeared on several national dance panels, including PBS NewsHour, the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Panel and the Glass Slipper Ceiling Symposium. A member of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, she has received the Women of Achievement Award for Initiative and the Gordon Holl Outstanding Arts Administrator’s Award, and is a recipient of a fellowship from the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She is a fellow in the National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program™ and was named a 2012 Legends Award winner from the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. In 2013, she received the Briggs’ Foundation Community Service Award. She is the current chair of the Artistic Directors’ Council for Dance/USA, the nation’s largest dance service organization for professional dance companies, and also serves on its panel for diversity and inclusion. Dorothy is a native Memphian who began her ballet training with Edith Royal of Orlando, Florida and later studied with Louise Rooke and Memphis Ballet. After graduating cum laude from Vanderbilt University, she studied with Raymond Clay and Donna Carver, and performed with Dance Concert Theatre. She completed teacher-training courses at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and with New York ballet master David Howard. Dorothy appeared in many roles with Ballet Memphis before leaving the stage.