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Nashville Ballet Announces Brand New Season

The Sleeping Beauty by Martin O'Connor.JPG
Nashville Ballet's Sleeping Beauty

Nashville Ballet announced its performance line-up today for the 2012-2013 season, which includes a new contemporary work featuring Nashville music and the return of several classic story ballets showcasing the versatility of Nashville Ballet dancers.

Nashville Basll“This performance roster offers audiences a variety of stories, contemporary works and children’s ballets, which illustrates how talented our dancers are in spinning tales with their bodies and switching between such different styles of dance,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling said.

Nashville Ballet’s 2012-2013 performance season will include:

The Sleeping Beauty

Lush costumes and sets place the classic story of The Sleeping Beauty in 16thCentury France, when the lovely Princess Aurora is born. Though often regarded as a love story, The Sleeping Beauty is also a struggle between the two conflicting forces of good and evil, represented by the good Lilac Fairy and the evil fairy Carabosse. Angry at not being invited to the baby Aurora’s christening celebration, Carabosse curses the princess to die on her 18thbirthday. The Lilac Fairy uses her power to lessen the curse so that Aurora and her entire kingdom will only sleep instead of die. The fate of Aurora’s kingdom hinges on a handsome prince whose kiss awakens Aurora and her entire kingdom after 100 years of slumber.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky wrote the score and Marius Petipa created the choreography in 1890 when dancing on pointe was still fairly new to the art of ballet. An infatuation with this new form of dance led Petipa to create choreography with an emphasis on pointe work – choreography considered to be very challenging by many dancers and directors today. Vasterling’s storytelling based on Petipa’s choreography earned The Tennessean’s praise as “the ultimate story ballet” in Nashville Ballet’s 2004 production.

Created the year before The Nutcracker, Petipa’s original version of The Sleeping Beauty was the first combination of classical music, dance and fairy tale to take the stage, making it one of the most significant works in the world of ballet.

The Sleeping Beauty will feature several young dancers from the School of Nashville Ballet.

It will be held at TPAC’s Jackson Hall for three performances October 19 – 21, 2012.

Nashville’s Nutcracker

Set in 1897 Nashville, with local historic characters, this year’s performance of Nashville’s Nutcracker includes an expanded youth cast to accompany Nashville Ballet company and second company members. The Nashville Symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s famous score for Nashville Ballet’s fifth anniversary of its Nashville’s Nutcracker production.

“With enchanted toys, whimsical fairies and the glorious music of Tchaikovsky, it’s easy to lose yourself in the magic of Nashville’s Nutcracker. But thanks to the unique concept and vision of artistic director Paul Vasterling, Nashville Ballet ensures that we never lose sight of home,” said The Tennessean’s review of last year’s performance.

More than 200 dancers tell the story of young Clara and her Nutcracker. Her visit to the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897 is only the beginning of her magical journey with her Nutcracker to the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Welcoming young members of the community to take part in the holiday tradition, Nashville Ballet will host open auditions for the children’s roles in Nashville’s Nutcracker Sept. 9 and 19 at The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet.

Nashville’s Nutcracker will be held at TPAC’s Jackson Hall for 11 performances December 9 – 23, 2012.


A night of contemporary dance, Attitude offers Nashville a mixed bill of live music and relevant, contemporary works from some of the country’s most unique, cutting edge choreographers including Ploughing the Dark from Sarah Slipper, The Whistling from Dominic Walsh and a brand new yet-to-be-named world premiere from Gina Patterson.

A hauntingly romantic duet, Ploughing the Dark is inspired by the life of Anton Chekhov and his wife Olga Knipper, who lived in different cities pursuing their individual careers during the last six years of Chekhov’s life. Their relationship remained alive through love letters, which inspired Slipper’s intensely passionate choreography, set to music written by Vanderbilt University Associate Professor of Composition Michael Kurek. Nashville Ballet last performed Ploughing the Dark in 2007.

The Whistling, set to Cuban music from the 1940’s and choreographed by internationally in-demand choreographer Dominic Walsh, is a fun, light-hearted ensemble piece with dancers using fluid, yet athletic movements. The Whistling was voted as the audience favorite at the American Idol-style 2010 New American Talent/Dance choreographic competition hosted by Ballet Austin.

Frequent Nashville Ballet collaborator and winner of the prestigious Choo San Goh Award for Choreography, Gina Patterson will create a new work specifically for Nashville Ballet inspired by the sounds of Music City and highlighting the immense talent permeating Nashville. Patterson’s credentials as a choreographer extend across the globe, including two recent collaborations with Nashville Ballet -- Cryin’ Out set to the music of Gary Nicholson, and Anne Frank, part of the repertory of Outreach performances designed to expose young people to the art of ballet.

Attitude will be held at TPAC’s Polk Theater for three performances February 15 – 17, 2013.

The Singing Tortoise

Based on a West African folk tale, The Singing Tortoise teaches children the value of keeping your word and respecting others, though dance, music and narration. This children’s ballet tells the story of a hunter named Ama who meets a magical singing tortoise in the forest. Ama promises not to tell anyone about the tortoise’s talent, but breaks his word and suffers the consequences. Children can learn what it takes to dance like Ama and the tortoise in an interactive demonstration following the performance.

The Singing Tortoise was the first original children’s ballet that was created through a continuing partnership between Nashville Ballet and Belmont University. Vasterling created choreography to accompany an original music composition from Todd London, adjunct instructor at Belmont University’s School of Music. The two organizations debuted the piece to the community in 1998, but this season’s performance will included an expanded cast and new sets.

The Singing Tortoise will be held at TPAC’s Polk Theater Saturday, February 16, 2013.

Romeo & Juliet

Described by The Tennessean as “enthralling” when it debuted in 2004, Vasterling’s Romeo and Juliet expresses the emotion of Shakespeare’s 400-year-old play through dance and music.

This familiar story about animosity between two families, revenge and fatal love is set to a timeless score by Sergei Prokofiev, performed live by The Nashville Symphony.

“Although it’s set in Shakespeare’s time, this version has some modern West Side Story influence, with plenty of fight scenes and very physical choreography. That makes it quite demanding for our male dancers, but they love the challenge that the choreography presents,” Vasterling said.

Romeo & Juliet will be held at TPAC’s Jackson Hall for three performances April 26 – 28, 2013.


Shakespeare’s tragedy about fate, greed, power and consequence will be staged for an audience of only 200 per performance in this intimate, workshop-style setting.

This collaboration between Vasterling and Vanderbilt University School of Music Associate Professor Michael Kurek explores the psychology behind the relationships in the play, particularly the role of the witches in Macbeth’s story. This story-telling poses the question of whether the witches predict the inevitable future or manipulate Macbeth to do their bidding.

Vasterling plans to gather audience feedback from this performance before expanding it into a full-length production.

Macbeth will be held at The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet for four performances May 16 – 18, 2013.

Señoritas y Toros

Two ballets with Spanish flair -- Paquita and Ferdinand the Bull -- introduce young children to the world of movement and music.

Children will learn about Paquita, a Spanish girl born to nobles and raised by gypsies, who learns of her origin through a twist of fate and becomes a princess.

With bright, colorful costumes inspired by cubist Pablo Picasso, Ferdinand the Bull tells the story of a peaceful bull who only wants to smell the flowers in the meadow, making him unfit for the bullfighting rings in Spain.

Children and families can learn to dance like Ferdinand and Paquita during an interactive portion after the performance.

Señoritas y Toros will be held at The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet for four performances May 11 – 19, 2013.

Ticket Information

Season tickets for Nashville Ballet’s 2012-2013 performance season go on sale to the public June 1 through www.nashvilleballet.com. Patrons attending Nashville Ballet’s performance of Rite of Spring and Firebird April 27 – 29 will have an exclusive opportunity to purchase season tickets before they go on sale to the public. For season ticket information, contact Logan Heinsch at (615) 297-2966 x10. Tickets to individual performances go on sale July 2, and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 oronline at www.nashvilleballet.com.

About Nashville Ballet

Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company NB2 (a pre-professional training company) serve nearly 70,000 adults and children annually through performances and our outreach and community engagement programming. Curriculum-based outreach programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. The School of Nashville Ballet provides world-class instruction in ballet and other forms of dance for dancers of all ages.

Nashville Ballet is funded in part from grants made available through the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Ingram Charitable Trust. Additional funding is also provided by Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, Caterpillar Financial, ELAN, The Memorial Foundation and Publix Super Markets Charities.