With a classic score from Sergei Prokofiev performed live by The Nashville Symphony and original choreography from Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling, Nashville Ballet opens its performance season Oct. 28-30 in TPAC's Polk Theater with Cinderella.
In this classical ballet, a handsome prince, two ugly stepsisters (played by men dancing in pointe shoes) and an evil stepmother come together to tell the story of a poor, lonely girl who finds a new life with the help of four magic fairies.
"Cinderella is a perfect story to stage as a ballet. It's a culturally universal tale of love, good winning over evil and endless possibilities," Vasterling said. "But it's not always serious. Two of our male company dancers play very comical roles as the stepsisters."
Mark Allyn Nimmo and Eddie Mikrut will dance on pointe for the first time in each of their careers. Working closely with Vasterling, Nimmo and Mikrut learned how to dance on pointe and rehearsed the role beginning two months before staging the production.
"Women spend years learning how to dance on pointe, so learning in a few weeks has been a fun challenge. We learned how our center of gravity shifts in the shoes and to accommodate that shift with different forms of movement," Nimmo said. "Pairing a technically difficult role with such a comedic character is a great combination for a dancer, and it will provide some comedy relief that everyone can appreciate."
The pointe shoe is a significant metaphor in this production. In the opening scene, Cinderella is seen barefoot. She tries on the stepsisters' shoes when they are away, but never has her own until magic fairies bring them to her as one of their gifts.
"The shoe becomes an expression of prestige and control. Once Cinderella gets her pointe shoe, she has the power to leave her past behind and find the love she deserves," Vasterling said. "It's really a very empowering message."
This large-scale, newly created production, which includes 18th Century period costumes in contemporary color palettes and impressionist sets never before seen in Nashville, will be performed by Nashville Ballet company members, apprentices, Second Company and a youth cast of 17 dancers from the School of Nashville Ballet.
Cinderella's youth cast of dancers will add bumblebees, flowers, ladybugs and snow angels to the whimsical fairy tale.
After each performance, members of Nashville Ballet's artistic staff will answer audience questions and speak about the choreography, music, costumes and production of Cinderella. All audience members are invited to attend the short presentation.
Cinderella will be held at TPAC's Polk Theater for three performances:
Friday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 30 at 2 p.m.
Season tickets for Nashville Ballet's 2011-2012 performance season are available at www.nashvilleballet.com and provide savings of up to 50 percent for children and 25 percent for adults. For season ticket information, contact Logan Heinsch at (615) 297-2966 x10. Tickets to individual performances are also on sale in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040, online at www.nashvilleballet.com or at the new TPAC Box Office at the Green Hills Mall concierge desk.
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 Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding from the Ingram Charitable Fund supports the presentation of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for most performances. Additional funding is also provided by The Shubert Foundation, Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, HCA Tri-Star, Sun Trust, ELAN Hair / ELAN Skin, Caterpillar Financial, The Memorial Foundation and Publix Super Market Charities.