The culmination of three years' work, the world premiere unites the live performance of rarely performed works by singer-songwriters Amy Ray and Emily Saliers with the creative genius of internationally recognized choreographer Margo Sappington.
The result is "Shed Your Skin," an emotional, interpretive ballet that carves notes and moods into one's consciousness. Indigo Girls fans will listen in awe to more obscure songs like "Least Complicated," "Caramia" and "Touch Me Fall" when played live and paired with dancing.
"When I chose the songs, I chose for dramatic impact," says Sappington, who notes that the requirements for a concert are completely different than those for a dance score. "I tell you, people are going to jump up and scream."
The melding of traditional dance forms with modern dance and pop music is not a new concept. When Twyla Tharpe's postmodern dancers joined Joffrey Ballet company members to perform the work "Deuce Coupe" (1973), with score by the Beach Boys, her irreverent combinations of high art with popular culture was a decade ahead of the curve that blurs the distinctions between genres. During the 1980s, a second generation of post-modern choreogra- phers emerged, concerned with increasing audiences for dance and strongly influenced by the rise of technology and the music video.
Saliers describes the collaboration as a great opportunity to mix artistic mediums. "There'll be some of our fans there, some of the ballet's fans there, and I think it will be a great experience to bring those audiences together."
Sappington agrees. A former Joffrey dancer who's had an equally impressive career dancing on Broadway and creating dances for opera and music videos, she admits to a parti-cular affinity for popular music. In 1993, she created "Slide" for the Joffrey Ballet, a section of the company's highly acclaimed evening-length work Billboards, set to a score by rock musician Prince.
In "Shed Your Skin," the successful marriage of elements of high and popular culture carries the union of traditionally balletic and modern dance movements into a performance that is elegant, fearless and technically flawless. With phrasing that is more reminiscent of modern dance choreographer Doris Humphrey than classical ballet's Auguste Bournonville, "Shed Your Skin" features ballerinas who've long since eschewed the pedestal in favor of dance that requires both lyrical beauty and physical strength. They dance alongside male dancers who may work as often en face (facing the audience) as croise (the traditional angle between profile and en face) when shedding the definition of ballet as a dead or dying art form.
"I was doing a rehearsal when [The Indigo Girls] came into the room, and I said, '... look what's going on with your music,'" Sappington says. "They were completely on my side."
Sappington sees the dancers as co-stars with The Indigo Girls.
"They bring their personalities into the room and dance with their soul. That's what dancing is, you have to dance with your soul. And they do."
"It's a very moving experience to witness your songs being danced to like that, in what seems to be a pretty passionate rendition of the songs," says Saliers. "A lot of this thing with the ballet is as much a mystery to us as it is to everybody else. It's a nice artistic surprise waiting in the wings. We're not orchestrating it, we're sort of like invited guests."
The world premiere of The Indigo Girls Project, presented with George Balanchine's "Serenade," runs Oct. 18-21 at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. $20-$60. 404-817-8700. www.atlantaballet.com.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
When will you be accepting applicants for the 2014 competition?
"In response to Oydave's comment, "Look at the two pieces. Is the second a rip-off…
Tons of Atlanta artists use colorful geometric shapes. But to copy the exact colors, the…