"She throws these books at me, and says, 'I'd like you to make a dance,'" says San Francisco-based choreographer Julia Adam of her relationship with Ballet Memphis founder Dorothy Gunther Pugh. Two years ago, the duo collaborated on an adaptation of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. This season, as part of Ballet Memphis' "Classically Cool" event, it's a short performance based on Eudora Welty's story A Curtain of Green. Employing Phillip Glass' Etudes for Piano for the background music and gauzy, green fabric for the garden set, Adam will combine modern dance moves with classical positions to tell the story of the newly widowed Mrs. Larkin, whom she describes as an obsessive compulsive in a catatonic state.
"Let's face it -- she's gone around the bend," says Dawn Fay, who will portray Larkin onstage. "I can really relate to that sense of the Southern woman. She's very set, almost stubborn in her determination to keep up appearances. Even if things aren't right, you keep going," says Fay, who has danced with Ballet Memphis for the last decade. "It's actually very liberating when a new work is created," adds the ballerina, a diverse dancer who has been cast in principal parts in Giselle, The Nutcracker, and Naughty Boy. "It's new. You get to make it your own. You're a part of the creation of the character, and you're not trying to emulate something that came before."
Ballet Memphis presents "Classically Cool: Bringin' Down the House" at The Orpheum Saturday, October 7th, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 8th, at 2 p.m. Tickets $20 to $70. For more information, call 737-7322 or go to www.BalletMemphis.org