The Asheville Ballet announces Spring Into Dance: An Artistic Bouquet, May 11 & 12

Photo by Cat Ford-Coates
Photo by Cat Ford-Coates

Press release from The Asheville Ballet:

Spring Into Dance: An Artistic Bouquet is a gift to our community for Mother’s Day weekend – a professional production of all original choreography by Western North Carolina’s own Ballet Company and North Carolina’s oldest ballet company, The Asheville Ballet, directed by Ann Dunn. Five resident choreographers present their exciting new work on May 11-12 at 7:30pm at Diana Wortham Theatre. Tickets range from $15-50 and are available at the box office, 828.257.4530. For more information, please visit www.ashevilleballet.com

“A perfect opportunity for young people to encounter professional classical and contemporary dance in a wonderful collection of artistic visions, from funny to powerful, in a real theatrical experience.” – Dunn

Spring Concert Pieces:
Dunn’s new work, “Before The Gods Had Names,” is a four-part meditation on how good it is simply to be alive, to feel skin move through air. Choreography: Ann Dunn. Music: “Postludes” by Elliot Cole. Costumes: Kristin Alexandra Tidwell. Sculptures: Amelia Pate. Poem: Ann Dunn. Musicians: “earspace” members. Dancers: Stephane Wolfe (soloist), Jaime Thompson and Lane Wagner (duet), 24 members of The Asheville Ballet

Fleming Lomax presents a one-act ballet inspired by late author Libba Moore Gray’s story “My Mama Had a Dancing Heart.” Fitting for Mother’s Day weekend, the story follows the traditions of a mother and daughter as they dance through the seasons, conveyed through classical and contemporary ensemble sections sure to delight both children and adults. Although the narrative follows the journey of a mother and daughter, the ballet itself is an homage to all mentors who embrace life with a sense of wonder and model what it means to “live life with a dancing heart.”

In a culture where productivity is touted and busyness glorified, Tricia Renshaw’s “The Art of Doing Less” takes an alternative view.  Perhaps slowing down and experiencing moments of stillness can actually result in more joy and expansion in our lives.

Sandi Weinberg’s new work, “Networking,” is a personal depiction of the entrepreneurial struggle of embracing rejection and heralding acceptance.

Jessica Hodgins’ piece “Duality” is centered around the theme of learning to embrace one’s inner darkness in order to truly be content. By stifling our darker urges we only give them power over us through fear and shame, but by accepting them we become a true and whole version of ourselves.

Elliot Cole (*1984) is a composer and “charismatic contemporary bard” (NY Times).  He has performed his music with Grammy Winners Roomful of Teeth, Grammy Nominees A Far Cry and Metropolis Ensemble, as well as the Chicago Composers Orchestra, New Vintage Baroque, the Lucerne Festival Academy, and as a member of the book-club-band Oracle Hysterical.  His percussion music has been performed by over 250 percussion ensembles all over the world.  In 2017 he was invited by Talks at Google to share his unique approach to music through computer programming.  He is on faculty at the The New School and Juilliard Evening Division, and is Program Director of Musicambia at Sing Sing, where he runs a music school for incarcerated men.

Amelia Pate is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, pursuing her BA in Sculpture.  Alongside her studies at UNCA, Amelia has learned handweaving, and utilizes natural materials, plant dyes, and Shibori techniques to create fabric with color, depth and dimension.  While exploring how to manipulate fabric into sculptural installations, her work evolves in direct conversation with light, experimenting with materials that enhance it’s mystery and more emotional dimensions.  It is through creating these environments that she “asks the viewer to engage, to deeply surrender themselves to a conversation between senses and imagination”.  Amelia has recently exhibited at {Re}Happening and at the Juried Student Show at Asheville Area Arts Council.

earspace, conductor Vincent L. Povázsay , is an ensemble dedicated to creating invigorating, multi-sensory performances of music worth believing in. They seek to expose the inherent potentials within every moment and space, cultivating visceral reactions unique to every manifestation. Through their projects, earspace explores the extremities of contemporary performance and works to bring audiences closer to the music they experience. The ensemble has performed in the galleries of CAM Raleigh and the city’s Google Fiber Space. In March, earspace was in residence at UNC-Chapel Hill, performing “Shelter” by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, accompanied by the videos of Bill Morrison.

Kristin Alexandra Tidwell believes that “art is an adventure that never ends.” She is an unconventional fusion artist and designer, intertwining creativity, wellness and design to make a difference in people’s lives and style. With three decades of experience across multiple art and design disciplines and genres (opera, dance, theater, couture), she embraces opportunities with the potential of design to improve lives, while exploring the human experience. — designing for purpose, not just appearance.

“Asheville is so fortunate to have a resident ballet company of this caliber,” says Ann Dunn, Artistic Director. “The community has, essentially, a year-long resident repertoire company. Seasoned ballet fans and novices alike have the opportunity to watch consummate professionals perform a wide variety of roles, from classical to contemporary.”

Asheville Ballet has built a reputation on the belief that dance plays a vital role in the education and culture of the community. As a key component of its Educational Outreach Program, The Asheville Ballet perform its entire production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, for school children every year.

Asheville Ballet is North Carolina’s oldest non-profit ballet company. First incorporated in 1963, the company has created and presented work in Asheville every year since. In an average season, formal and educational outreach programming affects a culturally diverse audience of approximately 23,000 people. An active advisory panel and a strong, well-organized volunteer base assist a committed board.

Asheville Ballet has produced residencies by historical choreographers (Anna Sokolow, Douglas Dunn, Lori Bellilove), hosted master classes and workshops by international dance stars (Sean Curran, Mark Dendy, Chuck Davis, David Dorfman), produced the three-week Fall Into Dance festival, and commissioned both classical and contemporary choreography.

Asheville Ballet productions reflect the region’s varied interests. In addition to an ongoing relationship The Biltmore Estate, work has been produced for fund-raisers (The Health Adventure, The Arts Council), civic events (Martin Luther King Day, Bele Chere Festival), and commercial events (The Miss Asheville pageant, opening for the Pointer Sisters).

Since its inception, Asheville Ballet has produced both cutting edge interdisciplinary work and full-length major work. The company has collaborated with other local art agencies (the Asheville Symphony, Asheville Bravo Concerts, Asheville Community Theater, Asheville Lyric Opera), and has worked live with the area’s major musical, poetic, and visual artists.

In addition to promoting new work and a professional ballet company for our region, Asheville Ballet offers an annual lecture series on dance appreciation, in co-ordination with other local dance presenters, and generates educational articles on dance history and appreciation for national and local publications. The company has built a full library of dance-related materials.

Asheville Ballet’s commitment to supporting its professional adult members is evidenced by its challenging and stimulating performances, choreography, and teaching opportunities. The company also continues to nurture the careers of advanced youth members. Dancers who have worked with the ballet have performed with Alvin Ailey, Kirov Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Forth Worth Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Colorado Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Boston Ballet, Geneva Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. Company dancers have appeared in Broadway musicals, Hollywood films, and have won titles all the way up to Miss and Mrs. America. They have also been accepted at the schools of the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Juilliard, Boston Ballet, Jose Limon, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Robert Joffrey, and The Dance Conservatory at Purchase.

Asheville Ballet has created and found funding for scholarships for advanced dancers to pursue professional work in New York and Europe, and for underprivileged children to study dance in Asheville. The company has worked with Project Steam, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Helpmate, Elida Home, Presbyterian Home for Children, and local churches to locate and encourage new dancers and dance-appreciators. The Tix for Tots program makes hundreds of tickets available to introduce young people to the wonders of dance.

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