WINONA, Minn. — The Page Series at Saint Mary’s presents Ballet Memphis, Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Page Theatre. A pre-performance talk will be offered at 6:45 p.m.
Ballet Memphis has been recognized for its close ties to the region’s rich musical and literary heritage through dance, production, and training. The company partners with artists from around the globe for collaborative and original works, and has been lauded by the Ford Foundation as a “national treasure.”
The evening’s program includes two works from the company’s River Project, which celebrates scenes and cultural traditions surrounding the Mississippi River as well as an original work premiered by Ballet Memphis dancer Julie Marie Niekrasz.
Niekrasz created “Sa Voix” to show the drama of ballet’s Romantic Era in the 1800s and how costumes and movement perpetuated the idea of female dancers as ethereal and often frail. The piece uses female dancers employing great power and emotion to take one small step to liberating those who have been suppressed, even in art.
Matthew Neenan’s “The Darting Eyes” is inspired by old photographs of river baptisms along the Mississippi Delta and incorporates elements of the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Heavenly Virtues in an evocative work brimming with aspects of pain and redemption. Ballet Memphis Associate Artistic Director Steven McMahon’s “Confluence” is about creating a home somewhere, and the physical and emotional journeys one takes in that process. These two River Project works also include nods to the region’s musical culture, and are set to songs ranging from Allison Krauss’s “Down to the River to Pray” from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” to Mahalia Jackson’s “In the Upper Room.”
A Page in History
In celebration of our shared connection to the mighty Mississippi, the Page Series will offer a free lunchtime program, “Winona and the Mighty Mississippi,” Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 12:05 p.m. at the Winona County History Center (160 Johnson St.). This Page in History—Food For Thought program, featuring Aaron Repinski of Winona Tour Boat, explores the Upper Mississippi region and how the river has influenced Winona’s storied past.
Ballet Memphis Master Class
The Page Series will offer a free master class for experienced dancers ages 13 and up Friday, Nov. 17, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Valéncia Arts Center (1164 W. Howard St.). Experience en pointe is preferred but not required. The class is currently full, but dancers can be added to the wait list by registering at www.pagetheatre.org.
Tickets to the performance are $30 for adults and $27 for students and senior citizens. Tickets and additional information are available at pagetheatre.org or by calling 507-457-1715 (noon-6 p.m., weekdays).
About Ballet Memphis
Ballet Memphis is now in its 31st season and is recognized for its close ties to the region’s rich musical and literary heritage through dance, production, and training, including its lauded Memphis Project works, its River Project series, and its current Places works. Ballet Memphis has staff and facilities of the highest caliber, and partners with artists from around the globe for collaborative and original works. The company has received grants and high praise from other foundations and national media alike, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Dance Project, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Dance magazine, Pointe magazine and others. It has performed to excellent reviews at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., at the Joyce Theater and the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse in New York City, at Houston’s Dance Salad, at the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveur (Canada), and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, among others.