Project: Motion and Ballet Memphis are both 25 years old. And whether you're feeling nostalgic or adventurous, it's a great week for dance in Memphis. Two of the city's finest open a pair of shows with very different agendas. Ballet Memphis' "AbunDANCE" showcases the classical company's embarrassment of home-grown talent while Project: Motion's "Axis: Long Distance Affairs" stretches beyond the 240-loop in order to give Memphis artists and audiences a chance to experience and work with exceptional under-the-radar performers from across the country.
Ballet Memphis' latest installment of "AbunDANCE" celebrates the company's silver anniversary by digging deep into the back catalog and pulling out four memorable short works developed by local and internationally renowned choreographers. Takadame was created by Alvin Ailey's artistic director Robert Battle, and Ballet Memphis is the only other company in America licensed to perform it. Soul Selects Her Own Society — with its title borowed from Emily Dickinson — was choreographed by Steven McMahon, whose work for Ballet Memphis includes Cinderella and Romeo & Juliet.
The latest installment of Project: Motion's "Axis" will introduce Memphians to the choreography of jhon r. stronks and Amy O'Neal.
O'Neal is a witty Seattle-based performer who says she's "bored" by the stage and uses film to transport audiences elsewhere. Her movement vocabulary is global, classical, modern, and club-informed. She's also a boxer, which explains performances that are as explosive as they are precise.
"Dance isn't just about the studio," she has said. It's about how people walk down the street and wash their dishes. "That's all movement," she says. "That's all dance, and choreographers use that stuff all the time."
Project: Motion will also partner with local hip-hop troupe Robin Sanders with Out Loud Artistry.
Project: Motion's "Axis: Long Distance Affairs" at the Evergreen Theatre, February 17th-19th. projectmotiondance.org
Ballet Memphis' "AbunDANCE" at Playhouse on the Square, February 17th-19th. balletmemphis.org