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Nashville Ballet to Present Rite of Spring and Firebird

Ballet, Symphony Debut Rite of Spring with Live Music


Stravinsky is Sensual, Seductive, Steamy and Savage on Stage


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2012) – Nashville Ballet will present Rite of Spring and Firebird together for the first time with live music from The Nashville Symphony, in a double-bill of Igor Stravinsky masterpieces April 27 – 29 at TPAC’s Jackson Hall.

“These two scores have had a profound influence on the world of music and art,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “Stravinsky’s music changed the course of music composition, and inspired many other works of art, including Carl Orff’s legendary Carmina Burana, which we performed last season.”


Stravinsky’s own vision of a pagan ritual sacrifice inspired the musical composition titled The Rite of Spring. The score was originally paired with provocative choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky that debuted in Paris in 1913. The shocking movement depicting primitive fertility rites and the percussive dissonance of Stravinsky’s composition incited riots after the performance. Regarded by many dancers and musicians as a seminal work of the 20thCentury, the music of The Rite of Spring became famous again in 1940 when it provided part of the soundtrack to Disney’s animated film Fantasia.


Noted modern choreographer Salvatore Aiello revised the original work in 1995, providing updated choreography that Nashville Ballet will perform to the classic score. Nashville Ballet last performed its version of Rite of Spring in 2008, but this year’s performance will be the first time with live music from The Nashville Symphony.


“Written only three years apart specifically to be choreographed, the music of The Rite of Spring and Firebird were revolutionary works of art for their time,” Vasterling said. “In the last 100 years, the music of The Rite of Spring has become so familiar that it will be even more powerful performed by Nashville Ballet dancers and The Nashville Symphony – creating a visceral feast for the senses.”


In Firebird, Vasterling’s own original choreography will accompany Stravinsky’s memorable music, composed in 1910. The piece focuses on the Firebird, an other-worldly being whose origin is left to interpretation, who meets a human man and teaches him about love in all of its forms. Some view the firebird as an alien who appears by accident, while others see it as an angel sent on purpose to lead the main character through his journey of discovery. Nashville Ballet premiered Vasterling’s version of the ballet in 1997. This year’s redesigned production will incorporate new sets and costumes into the tale about the power of love and redemption.


Nashville Ballet’s performance of Rite of Spring has adult themes and partial nudity, and may not be suitable for younger viewers.


Rite of Spring and Firebird will be held at TPAC’s Jackson Hall for three performances:

Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 29 at 2 p.m.


Ticket Information

Rite of Spring tickets are available for 25 percent off when purchasing tickets to Nashville Ballet’s May performance, Emergence. Discounted tickets can be purchased onlineor by calling (615) 297-2966 x23. Discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more, by calling (615) 297-2966 x10. Tickets to individual performances are on sale 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.


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Media Contact

Jan Puckett Morrison, Nashville Ballet


(615) 297-2966 ext. 28