'Contenders' on stage

Appalachian Ballet's Bluejeans & Ballet mixes classics with humor

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There were tutus and music from Tchaikovsky. Beautiful ballerinas glided gracefully across the stage at the Maryville College theater. Movements and steps were beautifully choreographed to classics like Swan Lake. Music by Beethoven provided a backdrop for elegant dancers in black tutus trimmed in white and gold.

It was ballet at its best when the Appalachian Ballet Company presented their third annual Bluejeans and Ballet recently.
But artistic director Amy Moore Morton also had her usual tricks up her sleeve, mixing what would be expected at a ballet with what no one would expect.

Like the entire company bopping on and off stage to the music of Little Richard’s "Hey Tutti."

Like dancers in overalls and homespun gingham in a piece set to Morton’s mother’s book, "When Uncle Took the Fiddle."
Like State Rep. Doug Overbey and local personality David Dwyer in Maryville College cheerleader uniforms as part of a football-themed ballet called "Contenders?"

Yes, even the last one was part of the fun of Bluejeans and Ballet.

The Thursday night performance began with a dinner outside the theater, complete with silent auction and music by Steve Kaufman. The ballet was repeated Sunday.

The company is now hard at work on the upcoming performances of "Nutcracker," which will be Dec. 1-3 at the Civic Auditorium in Knoxville. This classic tradition will also feature school performances that week. Tickets go one sale Nov. 13 at the Van Metre School of Dance on Broadway, near Sullivan’s restaurant, through Tickets Unlimited or on the Internet at www.knoxvillcoliseum.com

Locals who wish to purchase their tickets at the studio will save the service charge and be able to see a seating chart.
As no flash photography is allowed during the performances, Blount Today publisher Sherri Gardner Howell attended the
dinner and snuck backstage to capture these photographs of some of the dancers.

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