PITTSBURG — Ballet for entertainment has been around since it began, often delighting audiences with fun stories and delightful characters.
The artistic director of the Midwest Regional Ballet, Kaye Lewis, has decided to take dance to a more emotional and educational place for her new performance, The Black & White Series.
The ballet will tackle several of the problems plaguing society now, including suicide, rape, body dysmorphia, mental illness, addiction and abuse.
It will run from June 8 to 10 at Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available at the auditorium’s website or at the door.
Adult dancers will be illustrating the journey through many difficult topics ending in the process of healing.
The ballet is an important one for Lewis, who powered through an abusive marriage and a rape to become an advocate for education and prevention.
"Our main goal is to teach people to speak out, get help, and to be the victor, not the victim." Lewis said.
According to Lewis, the dancers involved spent many hours perfecting their series, so that it had the desired educational impact.
The process was difficult for her male dancer who struggled with acting out violence against women.
"He's a real gentleman,” Lewis said. “It was hard for him at times to act as if he was hurting another dancer he respected."
The dancer was able to go forward when he realized that he might be able to have an impact on not just victims, but abusers.
"People are visual. We hope that if they see this it might be a light bulb moment that what they are doing is wrong, and wake them up so they get help." Lewis said.
Lewis knows that the difficult nature of the topics covered may make people hesitant to attend, but she encourages them to move beyond their misgivings.
"The show may have difficult sections, but the ending is uplifting," Lewis said.
She said the show has been a learning tool for her dancers, and she hopes, for the community.