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Atlanta Ballet troupe making presence felt
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
August 14, 2013 12:16 PM | 1467 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Dancers Alex Barros, left, and John Welker, who created Wabi Sabi, rehearse new moves for a performance at Atlanta Ballet.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal Dancers Alex Barros, left, and John Welker, who created Wabi Sabi, rehearse new moves for a performance at Atlanta Ballet.
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Wabi Sabi, Atlanta Ballet’s dancer-driven troupe, is in the midst of another memorable summertime run.

Established by veteran company dancer John Welker, the offshoot seeks to push the boundaries of the art form through the creation of new works by the next generation of choreographic talent.

Its performance pieces — energetic and vividly visceral — are brought to life with skillful precision, accentuated by pirouettes, fish dives and the like.

In addition to Welker’s own personally crafted work, this Wabi Sabi season will also feature six world premiere shows devised by an eclectic crop of choreographers:

o Atlanta Ballet members Tara Lee and Heath Gill

o Joffrey Ballet dancer Michael Smith

o Arch Dance Company (N.Y.) Artistic Director Jennifer Archibald

o DASH Ensemble (N.Y.) Director Gregory Dolbashian

The next stop on the abbreviated Wabi Sabi seasonal tour is Thursday’s 6 p.m. show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown. The series concludes Aug. 22 at the same venue.

The Neighbor Newspapers caught up with Welker for a candid Q &A about his brainchild.

NN: What are your thoughts on the evolution of the Wabi Sabi project since its creation?

JW: “I’m amazed by our growth and reach within the three years of our existence.

“We are now even gaining national recognition. What has struck me the most about our growth is that most people have heard about us and our reputation through word of mouth, even in this Information Age with so many other accessible and convenient ways of getting the word out.

“This informs me that we have a good idea, but more importantly we are valuing our relationships with our audiences and our collaborators. Through this we show our integrity and lend clarity to our mission.”

NN: What does the current crop of Wabi Sabi choreographers collectively bring to the table?

JW: “What I love about each one of our choreographers is that they bring their own unique life experiences to the table through their work.

“So, each has a different perspective, a different way of moving, and a different way of communicating through dance. These choreographers are young, talented, and are motivated in finding a voice for themselves.

“So, collectively you feel real positive and palpable energy from their work that is contagious.”

NN: Does the Atlanta Botanical Garden lend itself to a certain artistic aesthetic or energy?

JW: “Yes, no doubt in my mind about that.

“When the audience sees beautiful world-class dance artists in such an informal and equally beautiful environment, it’s hard to deny the energy created.

“People get to experience the language of dance on a personal level. You see the humanity and beauty of it all. You don’t have to understand dance to enjoy it, all you have to do is feel it.”

Information: www.atlantaballet.com/wabisabi

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