› What: Ballet Tennessee Repertory Performance and Spring Festival of Dance
› Where: UTC Fine Arts Center, 742 Vine St.
› When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 19; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20
› Admission: $19 adults, $17 students, Friday-Saturday nights; $11 Saturday matinee
› For more information: 423-425-4269
This weekend's three performances by Ballet Tennessee are both a nod to the company's past and to the future dance stars the company is producing.
Ballet Tennessee is presenting a restaging of the full-length ballet, "Dream Awake," on Friday and Saturday nights at the UTC Fine Arts Center.
The ballet was originally choreographed in 2003 by Barry Van Cura, late husband of Anna Van Cura, founders of Ballet Tennessee. Set to the music of Enya and Astarius, the ballet chronicles a child's journey into the dream state.
"When Barry created it, he created the lead male role for Fred Davis. This weekend, LaJeromeny Brown is returning from New York City to dance the same role," says Anna Van Cura.
The significance of this is that both young men are dancers who got their start in Ballet Tennessee, received further training at Center for Creative Arts and went on to dance with professional companies in New York. Davis danced with Joffrey Ballet School and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Brown is on a full merit scholarship to School of American Ballet.
"The continuation of that circle of dancing is so special," says Van Cura.
"It's really exciting to be returning," Brown said in a phone interview. "I feel I'll be more experienced, and I'm ready to show what I've learned and experienced while I've been in New York."
Although he wasn't familiar with "Dream Awake," Brown says he's been learning his role by watching videos. Since arriving in town this week, he's had three days to perfect the dance before performing it Friday and Saturday nights.
In addition to dancing in "Dream Awake," Brown will also perform "2 & 3 Part Inventions," which Van Cura says was choreographed by the legendary Jerome Robbins. Performing the dance required permission from the Jerome Robbins Trust and School of American Ballet.
"I fell in love with "Inventions," says Brown. "It embodies the style of dancing that is exactly why I moved to New York. It shows amazing movement qualities but also shows the small, technical difficulties and the musicality."
Van Cura says that Saturday afternoon's matinee is the primary recital for Ballet Tennessee's students ages 3 to 6. Saturday night is the recital for students ages 8 and up in the conservatory.
"It's a two-hour event and pretty fast-paced in which we show what we work on at the conservatory. So we'll see modern, ballet, jazz and hip-hop. Saturday night concludes with 'Dream Awake.'"
Brown says he returns to New York on Sunday to finish school at SAB. Then he will spend five weeks this summer training with Boston Ballet School before starting SAB in the fall.
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.