• New Ballet Ensemble Presents Groundbreaking Work by Local and Guest Choreographers


    New Ballet Ensemble Presents Groundbreaking Work by Local and Guest Choreographers

    Springloaded in its eighth year, now at Playhouse on the Square, April 12-14, 2013

    Memphis, Tenn. (March 18, 2013) - New Ballet Ensemble (NBE) continues the tradition of delivering a groundbreaking line-up of works by local and guest choreographers during the annual Springloaded, celebrating the fusion of ballet, contemporary and urban dance.

    This year, NBE presents the work of a great young talent, Alan Obuzor (recently featured as one of Dance Magazine's "Top 25 to Watch") who pulls on the company's talents to create Elee Madu Eese, a spiritual and uplifting original work informed by urban ballet. NBE presents an encore performance of Francesca Harper's edgy work Fearless Mine. Japanese ballerina, Kaori Ogasawara, will come out of retirement, performing her own work, A ke't (between two), with dancer Steven Prince Tate. Robin Sanders, artistic director of Out Loud Artistry, will present Absence of Norm, a conversational dance narrative that blends hip-hop and African.

    Continuing the momentum from NBE's innovative fusion of jookin and ballet (see Cobert Report and Lil Buck), Noelia Garcia Carmona will present a new work that features jookin and Flamenco-fusion starring Shamar Rooks with original music by guitarist, Roy Brewer. All three artists recently performed in New York City during APAP|NYC 2013.

    Click here for a video from APAP. Click here for a photo gallery from APAP.

    "New Ballet's studios are located in Cooper Young, and since moving Springloaded to Playhouse on the Square in 2012, we have been able to bring our global style to our own neighborhood," says Katie Smythe, Artistic Director. "One of my favorite ingredients in this performance is the structural back wall of the Playhouse stage, which provides a striking set piece for Fearless Mine."

    NBE's polished students always round off the program, highlighting the professional standard of training and access provided by the organization.  Excerpts from the beloved ballet, Coppelia, a reprisal of The Swan with TJ Benson and new additions to the Brahms Hungarian Dances,  (premiered with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and guest cellist Yo-Yo Ma this past fall), will move audiences as they witness the potential of up-and-coming young stars, on the same track as recent graduate Charles "Lil' Buck" Riley.

    "Performance opportunities are vital for both our increasingly seasoned as well as younger artists," says Smythe. "This year we have been able to offer our students life-changing experiences, including dancing with world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and traveling to New York city to dance at Alvin Ailey studios during APAP|NYC 2013. Since our appearance in New York and the increasing popularity of our jookin fusions with ballet and Flamenco, there has been demand for our young company throughout the nation. We have upcoming announcements that will bring even more attention to New Ballet and the Memphis arts scene."

    About the Guest Choreographers

    Francesca Harper blends original choreography, dance, music and film to create groundbreaking works that are category-defying. Harper was raised in New York City, where she studied at the School of American Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet School, The Ailey School, and under Madame Darvash and Barbara Walczak. After performing with the Dance Theater of Harlem, she danced as a principal in William Forsythe's Ballet Frankfurt from 1994-1999. She is the daughter of former Ailey star, Denise Jefferson who ran the Alvin Ailey School until her death from cancer in 2010.  Fearless Mine celebrates her fearless approach to life with the disease, her interdependence network with others and her resilience.

    Alan Obuzor, the son of a Nigerian born father and American mother, originally from Pittsburgh, began dancing at the age of 9. Two years later he started attending Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, where in 1998 he was a recipient of the very prestigious Princess Grace Foundation Dance Honorarium. Alan received a contract to join PBT's professional Company at the age of seventeen. Alan has created several new works for PBT, PBTS, Texture Contemporary Ballet, Dancers' Trust, Point Park University, and Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. At only 28 years old, he is also the founder and Artistic Director of Texture Contemporary Ballet which was created in 2011.

    About New Ballet Ensemble

    Founded in 2001, New Ballet Ensemble & School is a comprehensive community arts program that reaches into diverse neighborhoods, offering excellence in training and innovative programming while providing access to a cross-cultural environment and a track to higher education or professional career. Forty percent of the students in the New Ballet School are from minority groups, and twenty five percent of the Core Program students are on scholarship. New Ballet Ensemble artists are multidisciplinary—trained in Flamenco, Ballet, Modern, Hip Hop, African and improvisation. Recognizing that we live in a changing world, we believe that by raising the capacity of our own abilities in various cultural forms of dance, we can raise awareness about what binds us all and what human needs our cultures address.


    Show Information

    April 12-14, 2013

    Friday 7:00 p.m.

    Saturday 5:30 p.m.

    Sunday: 2:30 pm

    Playhouse on the Square

    66 South Cooper St.

    Memphis, TN 38104




    Buy tickets here: http://nbespringloaded13.eventbrite.com/

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