Milwaukee Ballet Executive Director Dennis Buehler and I recently took a trip to the Nashville Film Fest to participate in the world premiere of William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet. You've probably heard a bit about the film by now: In 2007, Milwaukee Ballet premiered a ballet titled Common People, choreographed by the great Margo Sappington and set to William Shatner's spoken word album "Has Been", a collaboration with Ben Folds. When Milwaukee Ballet first performed Common People, Mr. Shatner blessed us with his presence and was so inspired by the performance that he hired local filmmakers Patrick Buckley, Andrew Swant and Bobby Ciraldo to make a documentary about the album and the ballet which grew out of the project.
So there we were at the Nashville Film Festival for the premiere of this unique and fantastic film. It was an interesting thing to be a part of--cameras and fans lined the streets as we walked down the red carpet. We met up with Margo, stopped to talk with a few television reporters and posed for the cameras.
Before the film started, Dennis, Margo and I had the pleasure to schmooze with other big-wigs in the VIP tent and on the tour bus. We had the chance to meet up with Gonzo Ballet's producers and directors who were all filled with compliments about the dancers. Ben Folds showed up, followed by Sheryl Crow and Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton too. And of course the man of the hour himself, William Shatner.
The film received a great reception from the audience. The dance sections really showcased once again the diversity of this fabulous company and the high standards of excellence that have fast become a trademark of Milwaukee Ballet. I'm so proud of the dancers and to be a part of this organization.
Before I sign off here for a moment, just a quick note that I'm sure you already know--Common People (the performance featured in William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet) is returning in Milwaukee Ballet's Live and Kicking, May 14-17 at the Marcus Center. Audiences can expect two additional treats at the show--Gustav's Rooster from the talented Val Caniparoli set to the music of Swedish rock band Hoven Droven, and a magnificent world premiere from Canadian choreographer Mark Godden.
See you at the show,
Michael Pink, Artistic Director