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New Ballet in Orange Mound

Thanks to the Flyer for taking the time to learn more about New Ballet's programs, specifically the Orange Mound Initiative. However, the article "Everybody Dance" (September 10th issue) didn't correctly state some of the facts.

The Orange Mound community was educated on New Ballet programs through live performances. Five performances were held throughout the community last season in schools, and 10 will be held this year. And we have begun the second of three 12-week residencies. Twenty students (not five, as stated in the article) are chosen to participate in these residencies, which include ballet and hip-hop classes for boys and girls at New Ballet studios twice weekly. The cost per student for the residencies is $262 (not $800, as stated), which includes uniforms, transportation, and the same professional standard of training received by other students enrolled in New Ballet School.

Five students from the first residency program are now enrolled in classes at New Ballet School on full scholarship.

New Ballet is a Community Arts Education program that began with the conviction that the only way to raise professional artists in a city with high poverty rates and lack of access by a diverse population was to provide quality training and equal access. A scholarship to New Ballet School resulting in years of excellent dance training may be the best opportunity some children have to receive access to a higher education.

Katie Smythe, CEO and Artistic Director

New Ballet Ensemble


Big Star

Although, like most people, I missed hearing Big Star's #1 Record in 1972 and its follow-up, 1974's Radio City, I now listen to these two amazing albums quite frequently. These gorgeous, stunning recordings are indeed timeless and provide lasting listening pleasure for anyone interested in beautifully rendered pop music.

In Andria Lisle's article about the band's newly released box set ("Boxed Up," September 10th issue), Andrew Sandoval, director of A&R at Rhino Records, is quoted as saying, "Everyone makes Beatles comparisons, but Big Star seems to have something that's even more impenetrable ... ." I agree. If anything, Big Star's first two albums have an inscrutable appeal that spans time and generational differences with music that touches people in moving and profound ways.

Big Star's music is a wonderful, unique addition to the legacy of Memphis music.

Randy Norwood


Whitehaven Fix-up

Since I have had a thriving business (Exline's Pizza) on or near the Elvis Presley Corridor since 1977, I feel qualified to make two minor suggestions to help beautify this area. The first one will cost almost nothing. At the intersection of Brooks Road and Elvis Presley Boulevard there are abutments on either side of Elvis Presley that were obviously made as a pair. However, the one on the west side, immediately in front of the Memphis Welcome Center, has been painted and has "Elvis Presley Boulevard" written on it. The abutment on the east side is still raw, dirty concrete. It simply needs to be painted to match its companion.

My other suggestion involves signs that are placed too close to the street. When businesses fail, the signs become unsightly. The solution is simple: have the city administration identify the owner and have the sign removed.

Walt Exline


Obstuctionist Tactics?

Even with every obstructionist tactic in the Republican's playbook being thrown at the president's health-care proposals, a new low was reached last week during the president's speech before Congress regarding the need for a national health-care plan. Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted out that Obama lied when he stated illegal immigrants were not included in the health-care package.

Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is becoming routine for the Republicans. Among their claims: Reform will kill Grandma; Obama is a Muslim and wasn't born in the U.S.; the new bill will pay for abortions and cover illegal immigrants, etc. Every charge they have made has been shown to be misleading or blatantly false.

We on the Democratic side know what this is about: They hate Obama and his policies no matter what he does, good or bad. Health-care reform is secondary for them. They despise anyone with philosophies other than theirs. They believe Democrats are godless, immoral, socialist, one-worlders, and are dangerous to good, God-fearing, moral conservatives. The Democrats can and should pass this bill without Republican help.

Joe M. Spitzer


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