Essay: The night I danced with Atlanta Ballet and caught a flying ballerina

fedoraATLANTA – I went to the dress rehearsal for Atlanta Ballet’s “New Choreographic Voices” Thursday night to live-tweet, not to dance.

I was stationed in the front row at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre — an advantage of being at the dress rehearsal — with a tweet on my phone ready to send out. The ballet had already performed the first two works on the bill and was now in the middle of a piece called “Minus 16.” I’d just written, in 140 characters or less, about a dazzling duet between Rachel Van Buskirk and Jonah Hooper.

Before I could send out the tweet, my attention went back to the stage. About 20 dancers came out, all dressed in black formal men’s evening attire, complete with fedoras. Heavy, uptempo electronic music pounded as they formed lines on either side of the stage.

I knew what was about to happen — at a rehearsal I’d attended over the summer, this was the exact moment when a gorgeous ballerina had suddenly appeared before me and extended her hand.

(Click here to read more of Scott Freeman’s essay on

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Scott Freeman is deputy editor of ArtsATL. He has worked at Atlanta magazine and Creative Loafing. His work has received three Green Eyeshade Awards, as well as an award for feature writing from the Football Writers Association of America. His oral history of the Cabbagetown music scene in 2010 was recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. He is the author of four books, including biographies of the Allman Brothers Band and Otis Redding. He is at work on a new non-fiction book.

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