Culture Shock: Wabi Sabi at the High Museum

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The Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi will be performing the works of Tara Lee at the High Museum of Art this Saturday, October 13th, from 8-11 pm.

For those of you unfamiliar with this new modern dance wing of the Atlanta Ballet, the goal of the company is to bring dancers and audiences together in exciting and less-formal spaces. The company is funded by community donations, but has nevertheless managed to commission fourteen new works in the two years since its inception.

The company offers emerging choreographers the opportunity to set their work on technically proficient, internationally respected dancers. This is a dream for young choreographers. The dancers have the opportunity to perform the works of choreographers with many different styles and concepts, so it also helps the dancers to grow as artists. In the case of Tara Lee, she is morphing into an exciting and competent choreographer while still dancing major roles with Atlanta Ballet, as demonstrated by her works for Wabi Sabi (Akara and Mind Myself) and her recently-staged Pavo for the parent company. Win-win-win!

At a Wabi Sabi performance, the audience not only gets to experience the dance, but also the environment. Several of their performances have been hosted by Atlanta Botanical Gardens; the audience members have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of the gardens in addition to the dancing. This time, the wonderful art at the High Museum will be available to see as well.

The most entrancing element of Wabi Sabi’s repertoire is the variety presented to the audience. The dancers are working hard to master different choreographic styles, dancing with new combinations of performers and in wildly unusual spaces such as museums, fountains, lawns, and gardens. One of the most reassuring results is that they have not taken these wonderful, creative works, and stamped them with a single company personality. Instead, they dance each piece with attention to its authentic movement style as created by the choreographer. Wabi Sabi gives each choreographic voice the ability to be clearly heard.

If you haven’t seen Tara Lee’s work or Wabi Sabi in performance, you should go. If you have, this will afford you the chance to experience it again in a new setting.

October 13th.
Mark your calendars!

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