Fashion and dance combine to bring Greek myths to life

Courtesy of Royal Peasantry

Danielle Miller, owner of Royal Peasantry, an up-cycled design house and boutique on Lexington Avenue, is partnering with local writer Nathaniel Downey-Deardoff to produce an evening of theater and fashion to be held at the Masonic Temple of Friday, Feb. 13. The performance, the first in a planed series, is called Temple of the Muse: Reclamation of Stolen Fire and features puppets and butoh, cabaret and theatrical dance performances by local and visiting artists.

From Royal Peasantry

Press release

Aficionados of provocative theater, thought-provoking mythology, and wildly ritual fashion will be delighted at the first Temple of the Muse, hitting the stage February 13th at Asheville’s own historic Masonic Temple. A spectacle of theatrical interludes, bellydance, and women-positive, gender-curious performance art, the first of this seasonal adventure in mythology features the writing of Nathaniel Downey-Deardoff, costuming by local design house Royal Peasantry, captivating performances by a host of local and nationally touring artists, including bellydancers Lisa Zahiya, Khalima, and Claire Dima, storyteller Dr. Two-Tails, Asheville puppet company Toybox Theatre, butoh artist Abigail Griffin, cabaret artist Pastiche, and Richmond, Virginia based theatrical dance companies Sekhemti and Lumythic. This exciting lineup is rounded out by a host of ghostly models and actresses presenting additional fashions by Royal Peasantry.

Temple of the Muse: Reclamation of Stolen Fire is an unlikely yet well-matched collaborative effort between three visionary producing artists. It explores and explains the “Funny thing [that] happened on the way from ancient Greece to the present day.” Writer and co-producer Nathaniel Downey-Deardoff explains, “We still get tires from King Midas. We open up Pandora’s box when we’re too lazy to pick out our own music… These stories are everywhere. We remember them more than our own national heritage. The Greek gods are more fundamental to our theology than even Jesus, and the Homeric code of morality is more central to our sense of right and wrong than our constitution.” He writes, “Our culture is sick. We [as a people] are violent and uncaring. Slavery persists in the prison system and in lower class employment. Rape is so endemic that it is considered normal. Men think they are better than women, and women believe them.”

Photo courtesy of Royal Peasantry
Photo courtesy of Royal Peasantry

Royal Peasantry owner, costumer, and co-producer Danielle Miller invites Ashville to, “celebrate the passion of our prayers [for change] and to observe the nature warriors that collaborate to bring about revolution.” Co-producer, dancer, and choreographer Khalima looks beyond the norm to embody the evolving faces of what we are as a worldwide people. “Rooting oneself in tradition and looking to the future, while simultaneously looking for the places where cultures and genders collide brings a sense of togetherness and empathy that is needed in the world today.” Exploring togetherness and relating to others through performance, and redefining traditional roles and means of expression is the cornerstone of this fascinating and inspiring production.While many will be wowed by the spectacle of soulful expression, one-of–a kind costuming, and incredible dancing, the show embodies a deeper meaning. Temple of the Muse aims to look into the very heart of our world’s mythology and listen for the hidden voices. It is understood that a compassionate integrity is necessary to unveil the prejudices and prevarications presented by modern culture. In the end, the goal is to confront each culture’s folklore, to unmask the latent villains and to unearth the hidden gems. There will be many more shows, and each will deepen its social impact by drawing upon the assembled stories of the audience itself. In the end, Temple of the Muse will restore our culture to the richness of heritage and loving understanding that is our birthright.

Launched on the eve of St. Valentines Day, Temple of The Muse: Reclamation of Stolen Fire promises to incite passion in the minds, hearts, and imaginations of the audience. The producers invite you to bear witness during this extravagant evening of rapture, creation, transformation, and alchemy.

Temple of the Muse: Reclamation of Stolen Fire takes place at The Asheville Masonic Temple, located at 80 Broadway St., Asheville, NC, on Friday February 13th at 7pm, with doors at 6:30pm. There are multiple ticket levels, and presale is available at templeofthemuse1.brownpapertickets.com.

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About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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