Normally, mixing choreography with cuisine might result in an on-stage food fight, but for Ballet Memphis and several local chefs, the collaboration results in a mouthwatering and visually stunning event. This October, for the fifth year in a row, Ballet Memphis is presenting Connections: Food, a fund-raiser that features four original dishes from local chefs and complementary original dance works.
“The preparation of food is similar to creating a new dance work,” says Dorothy Gunther Pugh, Ballet Memphis founder. “Chefs work with color and design, they have to anticipate what people want, and they have to create a menu that makes sense and fits together.”
Pugh founded Ballet Memphis more than 20 years ago. She started the Connections fundraising series as a way to further explore the relationship between dance and architecture, puppets, body and soul, and more.
“We are always in relationship to everything around us,” Pugh says. “Art can help us understand those relationships by reflecting what is around us.”
The first Connections: Food was so popular with the ballet’s supporters the company has done it every year since. In the past, the choreographers drew inspiration from the chefs.
“We are doing things differently this year,” Pugh says. “The choreographers are picking their music and concept first, and then the chefs will get the inspiration for their recipes from the choreographers.”
This year’s regional chefs are Karen B. Carrier, Tim Barker, Andy Ticer, Michael Hudman, Kelly English, and Jenny Dempsey. Choreographers Garrett Ammon, Nicole Corea, Petr Zahradnicek and Steven McMahon will create four original dance works.
Kate Duignan and Chris Peck will host the event, along with special guest chair Martha Hall Foose, the James Beard award-winning author of Screen Doors & Sweet Tea.
“It’s just such a fun event,” Pugh says. “You can just feel the collaboration and the celebration in the room.”
October 3 at BRIDGES, Inc., 477 N. Fifth Street
7 pm cocktails and music, 8 pm dinner and performances
Tickets are $300/single, $500/couple and $2,000/table of eight
All proceeds benefit Ballet Memphis and its programs.