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Arts & Culture

Nashville Ballet Announces Fundraising Campaign, Plans for Expansion

 Nashville Ballet announced today the public launch of its Capital Campaign–ELEVATE to build the future of Nashville Ballet. The campaign will allow the organization to renovate and expand The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet in Sylvan Heights.

“After almost 13 years in our current facility, community demand has pushed us to maximum capacity both in the studios and in our administrative offices,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “The only way we can provide the highest caliber of instruction and training to even more students and families is with more space. And it’s a wonderful problem to have!”

With the assistance of strong ELEVATE Campaign leadership, and through generous support from our Board of Directors and close friends, Nashville Ballet has already raised $3.7 million towards its $5.5 million goal.

Nashville Ballet purchased the adjoining space, previously occupied by Climb Nashville, in 2012. When Nashville Ballet expands into the additional space, the new facility will increase from 31,000 square feet to 44,000 square feet and add three new studios for a total of seven dance studios. This expansion will allow the School of Nashville Ballet to increase its enrollment by approximately 1,200 new students (almost double current enrollment) and add new classes for children and adults. Renovations will also include new locker rooms for students as well as a larger, updated lobby and better traffic flow both inside and outside of the building.

Design and planning is being spearheaded by Nashville-based Earl Swensson Associates, who have led projects for multiple organizations throughout Nashville including the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and The Noah Liff Opera Center.  Construction and renovations will be done by RC Mathews, who have worked on projects for Belmont University and Ryman Auditorium, renovations of the Downtown Nashville YMCA, and many more across Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

“As a choreographer, it’s always exciting to have more space,” Vasterling said. “But this expansion is really about being able to accommodate more students.  There are so many talented local youngsters, but we’ve had to turn people away.  And when we turn them away as children, it decreases the chance we have to train them through the school into the company.  That’s the dream:  Made in Nashville.”

The expansion will also include renovated and expanded administrative space, multiple conference rooms, additional offices and a control room for the facility’s black box theater space. 

“With the additional dance studios, we will have the capacity to reach more young dancers, with the hope of cultivating them and all of their family members to become lifelong arts enthusiasts through what they experience with Nashville Ballet,” ELEVATE Campaign co-chair and Nashville Ballet Board member Laurie Eskind said. “The end goal is to create a passion for the arts – whether it’s ballet or anything else this great, creative city has to offer.”

The announcement of ELEVATE comes at the end of Nashville Ballet’s most ambitious season to date. The 2013-2014 performance season included two world premieres – Peter Pan and The Ben Folds Project – six original pieces of choreography and two pieces of original music. The season also featured two significant youth casts in Peter Pan and Nashville’s Nutcracker, highlighting local ballet dancers ages 5 -18, as well as unique collaborations with various artists including Ben Folds (who performed with Nashville Ballet and the Nashville Symphony this past May), Nashville locals Sugar + the Hi Lows, ALIAS Chamber Ensemble and Portara Ensemble.

The 2014-2015 Nashville Ballet performance season, which was announced in February, will include the revival of audience favorites Swan Lake and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as the return of the company’s defining contemporary collaborations, Attitude and Emergence. For more information about the upcoming season, visit www.NashvilleBallet.com

For more information about the ELEVATE Campaign, to see a mock-up of the future Nashville Ballet facility and to donate to the ELEVATE Campaign, please visit www.NashvilleBallet.com/ELEVATE

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 60,000 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 by Ingram Charitable Trust, Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, The Shubert Foundation, Caterpillar Financial, The Memorial Foundation, Publix Super Market Charities, The HCA Foundation, The Dollar General Foundation, The Mall at Green Hills, Gateway Tire and Service Centers and thousands of individuals who contribute to our annual operating fund.