GO! Contemporary Dance Works will conclude its 14th season with Jehanne…the Story of Joan of Arc, a full length contemporary ballet, at the Bijou Theatre. A large creative effort with over 60 dancers, five choreographers and an expansive creative team, this one of a kind ballet will capture the intensity, conflict and resolve of this medieval teenager who was both maiden and warrior during a time of spiritual and political upheaval.
Joan of Arc, a peasant girl living in medieval France, followed her divine visions that led her to captain the French Army to victory over the English during the Hundred Years War. Captured a year later, Joan was tried in one of the most famous ecclesiastical trials of all times and burned at the stake as a heretic by the English and their French collaborators. She was nineteen. She was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint 500 years years later and continues to inspire and inspirit as her memory is alive across the globe in both religious and secular sectors.
Joining GO! In this artistic and historical endeavor is Dr. Anne-Helene Miller, Assistant Professor of French Medieval Culture and Literature at the University of Tennessee. "I asked Professor Miller to join us to tell Joan's story," states artistic director, Lisa Hall McKee. "I wanted to tell it correctly, as there is so much myth woven into truth about her. Professor Miller has given us such details that we have incorporated into the ballet. She is still attending rehearsals, coaching the dancers and choreographers on motivations of the medieval time period as well as Joan's attributes. She is helping us bring a true Joan to the stage."
Professor Miller, an expert of the Hundred Years' War and is a former dancer. "Joan is one of the most fascinating and complex historical figures," she states. "She was depicted as so stiff and upright, not of flexible nature, so it is quite a challenge to make a ballet about her. I am there to make sure the historical facts or interpretations about Joan are accurate and help bring to the stage the charisma she may have had which contributed to her legend and her legacy. I believe the audience will see their Joan, learn something about history and be inspired by the power of the will and strength of a woman of exception."
Jehanne, which is the 15th century spelling of Joan, was scripted by McKee to chronicle Joan's life in a visual labyrinth of the medieval time period. A emotionally charged performance, McKee has contrasted haunting moments such as her visions, trial and death with elaborate, ornate and lively scenes such as the banquet hall where she meets Charles VII. "Due to the sensitive nature of Joan's story, I designed the performance so all age groups could attend. The portrayal of her death will be abstract and the final scene will be directed to joy and hope in celebration of her life."
Show times for this inspiring and inspiriting ballet are Saturday, February 23rd at 2:00PM and 7:30PM and Sunday, February 24th at 3:00PM. Ticket prices range from $17 to $27. Pre-show Medieval Banquets will be held prior to the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances and include a sweet and savory feast with live medieval entertainment and an opportunity to meet Joan and the cast. GO! is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. Tickets may be purchased by calling (865) 539-2475 or online at gocontemporarydance.com.