By Kate Simone, Memphis Daily News
James Ady has joined Ballet Memphis as ballet master. In his new role, Ady will teach morning technique classes, assist with community outreach programs, and rehearse and coach dancers for upcoming performances.
Experience: Danced with American Ballet Theater in New York and Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia after having completed early training at North Carolina School of the Arts for high school and the San Francisco Ballet School. After retiring in 2008 due to a foot injury, Ady studied journalism at Boise State University and graduated magna cum laude in 2012.
Favorite quote: “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” – Voltaire
Favorite movie: “The Color Purple” and “Pride and Prejudice,” both very grand and colorful in their scope and execution, and “Overboard” – it’s adorable.
Favorite sports team: Usually a Roger Federer fan, I was recently rooting for Andy Murray to win at Wimbledon. He donated all of his prize money to cancer research – very cool.
What’s playing on your stereo right now? Mazzy Star, Dave Matthews, Fun, Pearl Jam, and Bizet’s “Symphony in C.”
Activities you enjoy outside of work: Reading, playing tennis, dining out, cooking, and exploring Memphis.
What talent do you wish you had? Although I feel like I was blessed with many gifts in this life, a singing voice was not one of them!
What attracted you to Ballet Memphis? Many things attracted me to Ballet Memphis: the forward thinking artistic director, Dorothy Pugh; the warmth and generosity shown to me by the artistic and administrative staff; and, of course, the talented and hard-working dancers.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment while in ABT was doing a page bow (front of the curtain) at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York after a performance of Lar Lubovitch’s “Artemis” and also being promoted to principal dancer while in Pennsylvania Ballet.
What do you most enjoy about your work? One of the things I most enjoy about working with dancers is watching them attempt and execute something that they didn’t believe they could originally do. Seeing people extend themselves beyond what they think is possible is intensely gratifying.
If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? If I could give one piece of advice to young people I would tell them, “It’s not enough to just want something in life. Although that’s a part of it, you have to work hard and be persistent to achieve your goals.”
Elizabeth Mensah has become a full company member of Ballet Memphis, where she formerly danced as a trainee. In addition, Ben Slayen, Anwen David, Alberto Gaspar and Charles Cooper have joined Ballet Memphis as company members, and Michelle Presler and Ashley Hannah Davis have joined as trainees.