Nashville Ballet has begun its 2019-2020 season with a collection of new works and poignant classics, raising a mirror to society in an exploration of perceptions, standards and stereotypes. Through thought-provoking, entertaining programming, the 2019-2020 season promises to captivate, educate and spark meaningful conversations.
“As in years past, this season illustrates the diversity of our community — we program to address the many facets of the individuals within our audience and Nashville as a whole,” said Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling. “Art exists in order to help us see ourselves and others more fully, building empathy and understanding between us. That’s the driving force behind everything we do at Nashville Ballet, and this year we are particularly focused on our audiences being able to see and reflect themselves in the works that we perform.”
Season highlights include the return of the iconic Shakespearean tragedy, Romeo and Juliet and Lopez Ochoa’s A Streetcar Named Desire, the latter of which Nashville Ballet will be the first American company to perform. Also noteworthy is the ballet’s annual Attitude production – this season the popular series will feature four new pieces focused on gender identity and sexuality (at TPAC’s Polk Theater Friday, February 14 – Sunday, February 16, 2020). Several fan favorites and heartwarming classics round out the season’s sensational repertory.
Romeo and Juliet opened the season September 20-22, 2019. With choreography and direction by Paul Vasterling, fight direction and choreography by Tim Klotz, music by Sergei Prokofiev, and live music performed by the Nashville Symphony, this performance was a spectacular presentaion of dozens of talented dancers and musicians. Kayla Rowser was phenomenal, as usual, in the title role of Juliet Capulet for the performance I witnessed last month in TPAC’s Jackson Hall.
Peter and the Wolf is next up. Imaginative, engaging and educational – this family-friendly production transports audiences into the pages of a life-size storybook as they embark on an unforgettable adventure with Peter and his fun-loving animal friends. With choreography by Paul Vasterling and music by Sergei Prokofiev, Peter and the Wolf will be at Nashville Ballet (3630 Redmon Street) for eight performances: Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 10 a.m. | SOLD OUT! Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 12 p.m. | Great for school groups! Friday, October 11, 2019 at 10 a.m. | Great for school groups! | Limited Availability Friday, October 11, 2019 at 12 p.m. | Great for school groups! Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 4 p.m. Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 2 p.m. | Limited Availability! Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 4 p.m.
A Streetcar Named Desire comes to TPAC’s Polk Theater, November 1-3, 2019. With choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, diection and dramaturgy by Nancy Meckler, and music by Peter Salem, Nashville Ballet brings an award-winning production stateside. Sultry and seductive, the balletic adaptation of this Tennessee Williams classic brings aging Southern belle Blanche DuBois’s devastating demise centerstage in a beguiling performance meant to mesmerize. Friday, November 1, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 3, at 2:00 p.m.
For the first time ever, Tennessee Williams’ legendary tale will be performed by a United States-based ballet company on one of the South’s premier stages. Considered Williams’ greatest work, A Streetcar Named Desire dramatizes the life of Blanche DuBois, an aging Southern belle who is forced to leave her aristocratic life and flee to a dilapidated New Orleans tenement after facing a series of tragic losses.
“This ballet represents the perseverance of women who have felt unheard,” said Meckler. “People often assume that female-led performances are fairytales; however, A Streetcar Named Desire is a fictional representation of the challenging reality female artists face in making their voices heard. I hope it will show aspiring artists, particularly choreographers, that women have the right to come out of the shadows and find success – even in what used to be a male-dominated industry.”
For the second time this year, Nashville Ballet will bring yet another boundary-pushing performance to Polk Theater. This adaptation is unique as the story will unfold through the singular perspective of Blanche DuBois. With Lopez Ochoa’s masterful choreography, audiences can expect a new interpretation of Williams’ work; one that humanizes the timeless tragedies of societal expectation and victimization, both of which still ring true for women today.
“Transforming this work into a ballet takes Williams’ story to places it has never been before,” said Lopez Ochoa. “By choreographing the narrative, we were able to tell a story of debauchery, heartbreak and strength from an entirely new perspective – a perspective that finally brings Blanche DuBois’ character into the light.”
Similar to Lucy Negro Redux – Artistic Director Paul Vasterling’s time-bending performance of William Shakespeare’s love life – A Streetcar Named Desire brings topics of social justice to the forefront of the ballet world. Returning to Williams’ Southern roots, the story remains one of his most performed plays and has inspired many adaptations in other forms, including a critically acclaimed film that was released in 1951. Nashville Ballet Company Artist Julia Eisen will take on the title role of Blanche DuBois. A veteran of the company, Eisen has spent the past nine years working under Vasterling’s direction.
“It is a privilege for our company to perform this work as it exemplifies the unwavering strength of female performers,” said Vasterling. “Once again, I am honored to work with a team of such powerful women, and I have no doubt that the caliber of Annabelle’s choreography will inspire Julia to give a performance that deeply resonates with audiences of all backgrounds.”
A Streetcar Named Desire will premiere in Nashville at TPAC’s Polk Theater Friday, Nov. 1, through Sunday, Nov. 3. For more information on tickets and scheduling, please visit nashvilleballet.com/streetcar.
Plan now to usher in the most wonderful time of the year with Music City’s favorite holiday tradition – Nashville’s Nutcracker returns to delight both the young and young-at-heart. Join Clara and her magical friends on a journey through a spectacular dreamland at TPAC’s Jackson Hall for 15 performances between Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 2 p.m. and Monday, December 23, 2019 at 7 p.m.