New Ballet Ensemble’s FreeFall and Ballet Memphis’ The Little Prince 

There are two notable ballet events this weekend: New Ballet Ensemble's (NBE) annual FreeFall concert featuring a new contemporary ballet by NBE alum Maxx Reed and Ballet Memphis' production of The Little Prince.

Reed was 13 years old when NBE founder Katie Smythe first saw him performing on a street corner in Cooper-Young with other dancers from Graffiti Playground, a neighborhood program offering free performing-arts training for kids. When Smythe asked Reed if he'd like to visit her studio and dance with some ballerinas, the teenager didn't even need to think about it. "Nope," he said. That just didn't sound fun at all. But Smythe eventually changed his mind, and Reed's mix of street smarts and classical training have since resulted in a number of professional dance opportunities, including a chance to perform as Spider-Man on Broadway.

click to enlarge Ballet Memphis’ The Little Prince
  • Ballet Memphis’ The Little Prince

NBE's FreeFall also features a German-inspired dance created by Elizabeth Corbett, and a French and Spanish piece with choreography by NBE flamenco instructor, Noelia Garcia Carmona. Tickets are free, but proceeds from donations support scholarships for NBE students.

Ballet Memphis launches its 2015 season in the Memphis Botanic Garden with an adaptation of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic children's book for adults. And where better than under the moon and stars to take in the bittersweet story of a little boy from another planet who has met many peculiar grown-ups on his way to Earth. The Little Prince will be followed by a special New York tour preview Water of the Slippery Flower Mill.

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