Detroit Performs

S9 E13 | CLIP

Ballet Edge Detroit

Ballet Edge Detroit is a professional ballet company with a twist.

Episode 913/Segment 2

AIRED: November 19, 2019 | 0:07:54

(upbeat music)

- Ballet is not just an activity or a hobby,

it's a lifestyle.

I've always loved movement since I was a child.

I was actually more of a late bloomer

when it came to ballet.

I started around the time of 13 years old.

But I loved it since.

- Ballet is something I have done my entire life.

It's just been this passion inside me,

and I've always kind of wanted to get back to it.

So a few years ago, I got back into ballet.

- When I first moved to Detroit,

I felt like I really needed to find my passion

and establish more of an identity for myself.

So I went back to taking dance classes,

and I realized how much I missed it,

and that's how I started meeting these

wonderful dancers in class.

- Meeting Angel, really just the passion for ballet

that we both had was our instant connection.

And again we didn't really see

any ballet companies in Detroit.

Most larger cities do have ballet companies,

and we thought that this would be a great chance

to really try to bring that ballet, that art,

back to the city.

- And we decided to start working together

after class and learning choreography together,

and performances started popping up for us,

so that's how Ballet Edge started.

- [Erica] All of dance just brings

a different connection to people.

It's something that's expressive,

and people can come and just step away from

all of what's going on in the world,

and just come and watch something entertaining

and something fun.

- Our mission is to bring a bold

and innovative twist to ballet

through using our trained classical technique

but putting more of a a relatable,

modern twist on it so that all audience members

can relate to our choreography.

- We're really trying to bring a new

refreshing outlook on ballet to Detroit.

Our name is Ballet Edge Detroit,

so we try to be edgy and different,

and we kind of try to break the mold

of what people typically think of classical ballet,

that it's just tutus and classical music.

We really try to bring something fun and unique

so that everyone will enjoy it.

- We're trying to attract all people to our performances,

not just people who are really familiar with ballet.

So in order to attract all of Detroit,

we need to have dancers that each audience member

can relate to.

So maybe an audience member will say,

"Oh, I can relate to that mom,

"I can't believe she's dancing out there still.

"She's got kids, but she's still holding onto her passion."

- I think that it's very important,

especially as women and for those of us who are mothers.

A lot of times we put ourselves and our passions

and our dreams and what drives us,

we put those on the back burner to be

there for our families, so it's great to kind of

reclaim some of that and kind of remember who you are.

Everybody just comes from different walks of life

and everyone has their own little back story

before they come to Ballet Edge.

I'm a huge advocate for following your dreams

regardless of where you are, age or stage in life.

- I think one of the things that makes us different

and perhaps mature is that many of our dancers

have done other things in their life,

such as work or gone to college.

And those experiences make us very comfortable

with who we are and made us realize how much

we love dance and make us come back to dance.

So we are experiencing the best of both worlds.

- I think it's so cool to go to my job

and people are like, "Oh, what are you doing this weekend?"

And I'm like, "Oh, I've got a five hour ballet rehearsal."

And they're like, "Wow, that's so amazing."

And it is amazing.

But I think it's inspirational

because now other people can see they can do that too.

Not only with dance, but whatever your thing is,

you're never too old or too busy.

The situation is never too chaotic

for you to remember who you are.

- [Angel] This group of women is incredible.

They show their personality.

Whatever the musicality or the artistry calls for,

whether it be sad, happy, serious, exciting.

They can do it.

And you'll be able to see that in

all of the pieces that we showcase.

- We're gonna be getting ready for our show.

We've got some large group pieces,

we've got some small group pieces,

and we're gonna be cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

We just finished learning all of the choreography.

So now we make sure everyone's looking the same way

and everyone's arm is the same way.

So it's gonna be kind of a wide range of things.

- [Erica] Angel Lavery does all the choreographing.

She's really open to listening to everyone

and making sure that we all feel comfortable

in the dance because, you know,

that's how we're gonna be the best that we can be,

is if we're all comfortable with what we're doing.

- Angel is a great choreographer.

I think she has really interesting ideas

when it comes to choosing music.

- I pick out the music first.

I listen to the music over and over, and over again.

And I see the choreography in my mind,

and that's how I choreograph.

We try to portray what the music is trying to tell.

So for example, we do a piece called Embrace,

which is to Vivaldi's Winter.

And that is more about friendship

and our relationship together as a company.

We all get along and we truly embrace each other's presence.

We've done a piece to Game of Thrones,

and that's really to portray the theme

of that wildly popular show.

It's very serious.

It's about battling and trying to be in power.

We have a piece currently to Beethoven's Fur Elise,

and these are all songs that the majority

of people will recognize.

And they get drawn in, they get hooked in

and they end up enjoying the pieces.

- [Erica] Ballet is very challenging.

It requires a lot of discipline.

We've all been training for 15 plus years.

- [Angel] We are all top professionals

and we work really hard.

Ballet dancers have great stamina.

They have great flexibility.

They have the discipline to come to class,

to stay in shape.

- And I think that the talent that's in

Ballet Edge is just phenomenal.

It's unbelievable, honestly, to me to know that

there are so many talented, amazingly talented dancers

that are right here in the city.

- Typically when people see a ballet company in Detroit,

it's a ballet company that passes through

Detroit and leaves, and we are making ballet

accessible to Detroit neighborhoods.

We keep our pricing affordable for everybody to come see us.

We are homegrown and we're proud to be Detroit.

- I'm so grateful for Ballet Edge.

I think that it's so great for so many

different women to be able to come together

in the name of ballet and put together

something so professional and something so unique

and something so entertaining.

- Longterm goals for Ballet Edge Detroit

is really just to continue growing the ballet company.

We would love to have more dancers

and really be able to put on more shows.

- I think that the climb that Detroit is making right now,

really all it's missing is some ballet.

So I'm really excited that Ballet Edge

is right there growing with the city

and making the presence of ballet known in that growth.

(upbeat music)


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