What do you do when you dance into your miniature kitchen to whip up a delicious one-pot meal only to discover your spouse limp on the floor with his or her head slammed in the tiny oven? If you're Betty, the robotic matriarch from the edgy contemporary ballet George & Betty's House, you solo until the old man comes around.
Dancer and choreographer Steven McMahon describes George & Betty's House, a work originally created by Shapiro & Smith Dance, as "extremely physical," "a little dark," and "a little more adult" than the usual Ballet Memphis fare. It's one of four very different pieces comprising "Family Matters," Ballet Memphis' multifaceted exploration of the family dynamic.
Julia Adam's Crossing is an emotional work about missing family members and the aftermath of 911. Dancer Rachel Shumake describes Adam's ballet, created while the disaster was still a recent memory, as "an abstract work about grieving and loss."
"My piece is hopefully one of the funnier ones," McMahon says of his original comic ballet The Royal We. "Rachel plays the queen exploring life with her family in private and public ways," McMahon says. "We all have an obsession with celebrity. The whole world does."
Trey McIntyre's energetic High Lonesome, the story of a family from the viewpoint of a young boy, is also on the program.
Ballet Memphis' "Family Matters" at Playhouse on the Square, Friday-Sunday, February 22nd-24th. balletmemphis.org