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Challenging Choreography of Classical Ballet Showcases Dancer Talent

2012-09-03

 

NASHVILE, TENN. (Sept. 27, 2012) – Nashville Ballet will open its performance season Oct. 19 – 21 at TPAC with one of the most well-known and beloved ballets of all time, The Sleeping Beauty, with live orchestral performance from The Nashville Symphony, an impressive display of classical dance from Nashville Ballet company dancers and a youth cast of 5 to 7 year olds.
 
“Written just two years before Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty is one of the most famous combinations of classical music, dance, a fairy tale and pointe work, making it the epitome of classical ballet,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Vasterling said. “But with an expanded youth cast and a few updates to the original choreography, we will present a fresh new look at the classic work.”
 
The much-loved fairy tale was first performed as a ballet in 1890, to music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and choreography by Marius Petipa, and is based on an ancient folk tale first written by Charles Perrault in 1695. Petipa choreographed The Sleeping Beauty for dancers of the Russian Imperial Ballet to showcase their newly advanced training and abilities en pointe. Throughout the performance, dancers often stay en pointe for long periods of time for the duration of their solos and variations.
 
Petipa’s original choreography was challenging for dancers at the time and is still considered challenging by many artists today. Vasterling will retain Petipa’s original work, with the addition of new choreography for the Garland Waltz, which opens on Aurora’s 16th birthday party.
 
“Because of Petipa’s choreography and the scale of the production, The Sleeping Beauty can be a difficult performance for a company of our size,” Vasterling said. “But our talented dancers are up to the challenge to master the physicality of the roles.”
 
Lush costumes and sets place the classic story in 17th Century France, when Princess Aurora is born and cursed to sleep for 100 years before being woken by a prince. The Sleeping Beauty depicts the search for an idealized version of love but also illustrates the struggle between the two conflicting forces of good and evil, represented by the evil fairy Carabosse and the good Lilac Fairy. 
 
Angry at not being invited to the baby Aurora’s christening celebration, Carabosse curses the princess to die on her 16th birthday. Though Carabosse is a female character, the role is usually performed by a male dancer. In Nashville Ballet’s production, former company dancer Eric Harris, best known for his role as Drosselmeyer in Nashville’s Nutcracker, will return to the stage to play Carabosse. Although the Lilac Fairy is not powerful enough to remove Carabosse’s curse entirely, she uses her power to lessen the curse so that Aurora and her entire kingdom will only sleep instead of die.
 
Young dancers ages 5 to 7 from the School of Nashville Ballet will dance alongside each of the good fairies as fairy pages, and other roles. In addition to fairies, princesses and kings, The Sleeping Beauty also features fairy tale characters from Perault’s other stories, such as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Puss in Boots.
 
The Sleeping Beauty will be held at TPAC’s Jackson Hall for three performances:
Friday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.
 
Ticket Information
Tickets to The Sleeping Beauty start at $35. They can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or online. Season tickets that offer up to 25% discount for adults and 50% discount for children are available at www.nashvilleballet.com or by calling (615) 297-2966 x10. 
 
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 50,000 adults and children annually through performances and our outreach and community engagement programming. Curriculum-based outreach programs bring dance education to community centers, public libraries, colleges, 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 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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