December 12, 2017

Ballet Memphis to perform “I Am” project Jan. 20 for 2018 Alabama Dance Festival

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ballet memphis webBirmingham dance fans can see Ballet Memphis perform four original works in the “I Am” project, inspired by the struggle for civil rights, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018.

Ballet Memphis is the guest company-in-residence for the 2018 Alabama Dance Festival. The 8 p.m. performance is co-presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center and the Alabama Dance Council.

Ballet Memphis is now in its 30th season and is recognized for its close ties to the region’s rich musical and literary heritage through dance, production and training. The “I Am” project reflects the idea that everyone matters, that dignity and kindness must ultimately speak louder, and that we understand our own humanity through our interactions with others.

The production of “I Am” includes four commissioned pieces that came from founding artistic director Dorothy Gunther Pugh’s ideas regarding, as she says, “giving voice to the voiceless.” The encompassing title “I Am” is inspired in part by the iconic “I Am A Man” signs held by striking sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968. None of the pieces are specifically about that moment in Memphis history but reflect the larger, related idea that everyone matters, that dignity and kindness must ultimately speak louder than the superficial noises and dark currents all around. The pieces are “I Am A Child” by choreographer Julia Adam, “I Am A Man: Grace and Dignity” by choreographer Reggie Wilson, “I Am A Woman: Moult” by choreographer Gabrielle Lamb, and “I Am” by choreographer Steven McMahon.

“The climate that Ballet Memphis brings to the stage is unorthodox, peculiar, fresh and large-spirited. The mood blowing through all of these dances is generous, imaginatively breaking rules,” said The New York Times in a review of the works.

Tickets are $45, $35 and $25. For tickets, call 205-975-2787 or visit

UAB faculty may purchase $25 tickets; a limited number of $25 tickets are available. UAB students may purchase $10 tickets. UAB student tickets must be purchased with valid student ID at the ASC Box Office. Limit one ticket per student, and a limited number of tickets are available for each show. Faculty and staff may receive a 20 percent discount on single tickets.