Tag: Ballet

Empowerment Through Movement

Written by: Mckenzie Carver

Sarah Yvonne displays her pointe shoes while practicing different ballet techniques at the bar.  Yvonne is the director of Ballet Esprit that is housed at The Spot Venue in downtown Chattanooga, TN. (Photo by Kelley Kindle)

“The revelation that exists within art is, to tell the truth. You have to be able to be expressive, to be able to project but also to be vulnerable. Good artists can’t be cagey and have walls up. Being vulnerable is the revolutionary heart of every art form, says Melissa.” 

   Melissa Miller is a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher at the dance studio located in Chattanooga Tennessee named “Ballet Esprit”. Growing up, Miller played soccer for some time, however, women do not have their own soccer league in Europe. That is when she decided to partake in something that women could have as their own, so she became a dancer at the age of 11. Miller danced all through middle and high school and traveled back to the states to earn her degree in dancing. She then moved to New York where she danced professionally for 5 years. After having her daughter, she came to the south where her husband’s family is from, thus landing her at Ballet Esprit. 

  “I grew up in a very artistic family.., so I always knew that my path would be in arts in some way,” says Miller.  “ I think the reason I connect the most with dance is that it is an all-encompassing experience; it takes your mind, spirit, and body. It is also a relational experience, it requires an ability to project and communicate with people,” says Melissa.  Miller says, “ I try less to share a message, but to ask a question, as honestly, humbly and with as much humanity as I can.”

Melissa Miller and Sarah Yvonne stand proudly side by side each other. Miller and Yvonne’s passion for dance has inspired them to express their art to the world through Ballet Esprit. (Photo by Kelley Kindle)

                History reveals that dance has always been a form of protest. “Dance is the only form of art that is directly tied to our bodies and physicality. This is important because as women, we can protest with our bodies against the social norms of how we are supposed to move and how our bodies are supposed to look,” says Miller.  The studio Ballet Espirit’s, next appearance will be The ALTER- Nut, their annual winter benefit. All proceeds go to their “ Hold Our Space SPOT Venue Covid-19 relief campaign”. The event will be held on December 5, 2020, at 5:30 P.M. at Lookout Lake, 3408 Elder Mt. Rd.

Decorated, pastel ballet costumes hang along ballet bars at Ballet Esprit. These costumes are waiting to be showcased in the company’s annual winter benefit called The ALTER-Nut. (Photo by Kelley Kindle)
Audio by Mckenzie Carver
Poster by Kelley Kindle