Tag Archives | Nashville Ballet

Nashville Ballet Premieres Groundbreaking Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project As Part Of Community-Wide Initiative

Nashville Ballet will premiere Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project this February, an internationally acclaimed contemporary ballet that journeys through one of history’s darkest hours to ultimately shine a spotlight on the triumph of the human spirit. Presented as part of Nashville Ballet’s annual Attitude series, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project comes to Music City from Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills February 9-11, 2018, at TPAC’s Polk Theater.

Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project unfolds as Naomi Warren, a real-life Holocaust survivor, reflects on her life. Following one person’s journey through the catastrophic events of the Holocaust, the work aims to spread a message of resiliency, courage and, most importantly, hope. Created and choreographed by Mills, Light has traveled to cities all over the world since its premiere in Austin, Texas, in 2005. The ballet is set to a contemporary score by renowned composers Philip Glass, Evelyn Glennie, Michael Gordon, Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich.

 

Light is a timely reminder of the fragility of human rights,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “What’s unique about art is its ability to spark meaningful conversation, teach important lessons and leave lasting impressions that have the power to lead to change. Light is an especially poignant example of that as we not only reflect on the past, but also consider the present and our personal responsibility when we see acts of injustice today.”

 

Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project is a unique multi-disciplinary community partnership that promotes the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate through arts, education and public dialogue. Through a partnership with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Nashville Ballet will host a series of community conversations and events leading up to Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project to reflect on historical and contemporary issues of social injustice to promote understanding.

 

Nashville Ballet Community Calendar:

 

Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project and its associated events are a part of a city-wide initiative during 2018 to help Nashvillians reflect on their roles and contributions to social justice in our city and world. The community initiative is anchored by the Nashville Symphony’s Violins of Hope, an exhibit of and performance with musical instruments played in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

 

Attitude: Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project is presented by Sea Salt Nashville with additional support from SunTrust and Susan Underwood Physical Therapy and funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or at NashvilleBallet.com. A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at NashvilleBallet.com/Light.

 

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), provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its Community Engagement programming. Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students age 2 to 70.

 

Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.

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Nashville Ballet Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary Of “The Nutcracker”, And It’s Magical!

Dew Drop Fairy. Photo by Karyn Photography

The 1.2 million dollar production launched 10 years ago in Nashville by the Nashville Ballet is celebrating its 10th anniversary of their interpretation of the beloved Christmas classic.

Clara and the Nutcracker. Photo by Karyn Photography

Nashville Ballet spared no expense as period costume designs of the late 1800’s/early 1900’s were beautiful.  Elaborate set designs set this production apart, as it moves from scene to scene with ease and elegance abounds.

Clara. Photo by Heather Thorne

I would put our highly-skilled ballet troupe up against any world class ballet troupe in the world.  They are confident and talented, certainly capable of holding their own with the best out there.

Madame Bonbonniere and her Bon Bons. Photo by Heather Thorne

Adding to this spectacular, whimsical production is our own award-winning Nashville Symphony, who proves once again just why they win awards.

Stellar.  This whole production is stellar from top to bottom.  The audience is treated to nearly 2 hours inside the vivid imagination of a young girl’s mind, Clara, guided by a magician who offered her a gift of a nutcracker as he leaves the party after entertaining the children for the evening.  As she drifts to sleep after the holiday party with her family on Christmas Eve, visions of nutcrackers come to life, sugar plum fairies dance, mice in uniforms scurry, the Rat King runs amuck, the Fat Lady sings, the Chinese dragon dances, and so much more.

Watch the official trailer for it HERE.

I don’t want to give too much away, but one of the special elements added in celebration of the 10th anniversary, is they even make it snow inside the entire theatre at one point along with the stage.

It’s a pure delight and a must-see for Nashvillians looking for some culture this holiday season.  Only running now through December 23rd at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall.  Get your tickets fast by going HERE.  You don’t want to miss it!

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Nashville Ballet Presents LIZZIE BORDEN with THE RAVEN October 26-28

As a special Halloween production, Nashville Ballet presents LIZZIE BORDEN with THE RAVEN at TPAC’s Polk Theater from October 26-28 only; two ominous, harrowing tales told through movement, imagery, and music.

The Raven – Photo credit: Heather Thorne

This production begins with THE RAVEN, which is the 1st time this particular program has been presented.  Based on the narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe that was published in January 1845.

The most famous of Poe’s poems is noted for highly-stylized writing, the dark subject matter, and supernatural elements within.

The Raven. Photo credit: Heather Thorne

Only 15 minutes long, it’s the perfect prelude and pairing to LIZZIE BORDEN, which has returned by popular demand to TPAC’s Polk Theater.

The Raven. Photo credit: Karyn Photography

This production, THE RAVEN, is defined by its simplicity with only 3 dancers on stage playing the roles of the man who has lost his lover/wife, the lover/wife, and the raven.  It is accompanied only by a pianist with a foreboding and classic musical score.

We enter the mind of a tormented man who is in a drunken stuper trying to ease his pain over the loss of his lover/wife.  A simple set of a chair, portrait of his deceased lover/wife, and a door with entryway.

In and out of consciousness from alcohol, is he really seeing the ghost of his beloved or just a figment of his imagination over his longing to see her again?

In his torment, paranoia has set in as he ponders the meaning of a raven appearing at his door and why it keeps returning.  Is this raven actually taunting him and real or symbolic of the foreshadowing of something dark to fall upon him, as the raven represents death?

In the end he collapses to the floor and the curtain falls.  We’ll let you decide if all was just his imagination or not.

Followed by a brief intermission, the stage is set for LIZZIE BORDEN, the main production.

Lizzie Borden. Photo credit: Heather Thorne

The full cast of dancers from Nashville Ballet takes the stage for this story.

Based on the true story of the 1892 axe murders of Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts.  The infamous double homicide is a tale that everyone in the U.S. knows well.  Even children still sing of the famous crime in a nursery  rhyme jumping rope innocently on playgrounds.

The tale is told from the perspective of Lizzie Borden as she looks back at literally the ghosts of her past through the dark recesses of her mind.

Lizzie Borden. Photo credit: Heather Thorne (1)

Starting out, she is a young, innocent, happy girl with a loving, attentive mother.  Then, her mother passes away.  Soon after, her father remarries.  Her stepmother is cruel and cold.  Giving no love to the young Lizzie.  Her father is sexually-abusive to the young girl growing up.  The stepmother is seemingly aware of this, yet turns a cheek and urges Lizzie to keep quiet about her wealthy father known in society.  It’s all about keeping up appearances, and such things were not talked openly about then.  Thus begins Lizzie’s spiral down to the dark recesses of her mind, inner torment, and a young woman simply wanting to be loved.

The young Lizzie, no longer innocent, lost, and unhappy, grows into a woman and falls in love with a young suitor.  I say “suitor” because that is how they were referenced in her time.

Lizzie Borden. Photo credit: Karyn Photography

Lizzie and her suitor court.  Throughout, you see her trying to touch him more sexually, as he brushes off her advances.  Learned behavior by her from years of sexual abuse from her father.

We see Lizzie torn away from the loving arms of her suitor, the one good thing happening in her life, only to be drawn back into her unhappy home with her father and stepmother.  The sexual abuse by her father continues and nothing but cruelty from the stepmother.

Lizzie Borden. Photo credit: Heather Thorne

Lizzie’s mind slips more and more into the darkness.  We witness the struggle between the good & bad sides of Lizzie who is desperate to escape her current situation and losing her grasp on reality.  There are good & bad sides within all of us, and if we were placed in such a situation, what would we do? How would we react if desperate to escape a bad situation?

Shadow figures, known as malevolent spirits people describe seeing throughout history, appear and become more frequent as the tale is told starting after the death of her mother and getting progressively worse as time goes on.

Lizzie’s mind spirals and spirals downward as the story is told through the dancing and movement on the stage.  Until finally she is seemingly at her breaking point.  It is at this time that an ax appears with shadow figures around.  She takes the ax and sheds her clothing.  A red backdrop appears visually representing blood and death.

We don’t actually see anything.  Just like no one actually witnessed the murders.  Once Lizzie reappears, we see her in court with a jury.  Everyone has turned on her and she is alone, even her ex-suitor hss turned his back on her.  She is finally acquitted, but spends the rest of her life living in the same house where all her torment came from growing up and is shunned from society the rest of her lofe.  Whispers, rumors, and loneliness surround her.

Lizzie Borden. Photo credit: Karyn Photography (1)

In the end, she is now a wealthy woman having inherited her father’s money, dressed in beautiful attire.  She appears alone wearing a bright red dress and hat, which symbolizes the “blood on her hands” as she stands accused surrounded by the people from this small town regardless of whether she was acquitted or not.

Did she or didn’t she kill her father and stepmother? We will never know for certain.

Watch a short video trailer by clicking HERE for a glimpse into the LIZZIE BORDEN production.

Lizzie Borden c.1892

Watch a video of the lead of LIZZIE BORDEN and what is was like to become that character by clicking HERE.

I thoroughly-enjoyed both productions.  The dancing and score for both were perfection.  I was drawn into both worlds and maintained my interest throughout the night, and truust me, that is hard to do! Be sure and see these 2 dark productions just in time for Halloween.

This production contains mature content and brief nudity.
Age Recommendation: Adult
Run Time: Approximately 2 hours (including 1 intermission)

Lizzie Borden Choreography by Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling
Music by Philip Feeney
Based on the True Infamous Murder Trial from the 1890s

The Raven Choreography by Nashville Ballet Company Dancer Christopher Stuart
Music by Franz Liszt
Based on the Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

 

 

 

 

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The Nashville Ballet Presents LIZZIE BORDEN With THE RAVEN Just In Time For Halloween

The Nashville Ballet presents “Lizzie Borden” and “The Raven” for Halloween. Did she or didn’t she? Viewers will judge for themselves when Lizzie Borden’s real-life double homicide case of 1892 hauntingly unfolds on stage this Halloween. Acquitted for the brutal ax murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie Borden’s notorious courtroom trial remains one of the most controversial and sensationalized in American history. Nashville Ballet’s gripping interpretation takes audiences into the mind of the woman embroiled in the scandal to show that there may be more to the story than previously thought. The world premiere of The Raven explores Edgar Allan Poe’s dark poem by blending movement with a classical score. 😊

Lizzie Borden with The Raven will be at TPAC’s Polk Theater for three (3) performances only:

Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.Friday, October 27, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets today at: www.nashvilleballet.com.

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Nashville Ballet Presents Lizzie Borden And The Raven For Halloween

Nashville Ballet Explores Lizzie Borden’s Infamous Murder Case this Halloween
Lizzie Borden Paired with World Premiere of The Raven

Nashville Ballet will present a haunting double feature of original works just in time for Halloween—the long-awaited return of Lizzie Borden based on the infamous double murder and the world premiere of The Raven inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem—October 26-28, 2017, at TPAC’s Polk Theater.

Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling’s Lizzie Borden examines the real-life double murder case of 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden was famously accused, tried and acquitted for the brutal ax murders of her father and stepmother in a case that remains one of the most controversial and sensationalized in American history.

“Because Lizzie Borden was acquitted and no one was ever charged for the murders, endless speculation still surrounds the case that makes it as fascinating as ever,” Vasterling said. “I have my own theories about what may have happened in the Borden household on the day of the murders, and leading up to it. This ballet explores the dark backstory and delves into the mind of Lizzie Borden—taking place in her memories—to show that there may be more to the story than meets the eye.”

Lizzie Borden has remained a fixture in American culture for more than a century as the subject of popular books, movies, television shows and even a well-known children’s rhyme (“Lizzie Borden took an ax…”). Nashville Ballet’s version was originally presented in 2006, and this time around will feature a newly commissioned score by English composer Philip Feeney along with updates to the choreography. Unique to this version, Vasterling explores the phenomenon of “shadow people,” ghostlike figures often attributed to the presence of the supernatural, who influence Lizzie Borden throughout the ballet.

Lizzie Borden will be complemented by the world premiere of Nashville Ballet company dancer Christopher Stuart’s The Raven. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, the ballet follows a mysterious raven that ultimately drives a heartbroken lover into madness. The brand-new work will feature a classical score by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.

Lizzie Borden with The Raven is presented by STF Events & Catering and Lightning 100. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or at NashvilleBallet.com. A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at NashvilleBallet.com/Lizzie-Borden. Viewer discretion is advised; this production contains mature content.

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), provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its Community Engagement programming. Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students age 2 to 70.

Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.

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