NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT) -- The Nashville Ballet is in final rehearsals for three contemporary dances to be presented beginning Friday as part of a program entitled Attitude.
One of the featured dances is a new piece created by a choreographer who is well-known to mid-state audiences, Gina Patterson. The ballet’s Sharon Mahoney says the National Endowment for the Arts agreed to fund Patterson’s new dance because it involves a unique collaboration.
“We’re pairing her with Matthew Perrman-Jones, which is a local singer-songwriter and also Emily Leonard who is a local visual artist. The NEA granted us funding to be able to create this ballet and put these three artists together - all on stage live - at the same time.”
Another of the shows three dances is one that’s proven to be a local favorite. Choreographer Sara Slipper created a dance some years ago for the Nashville Ballet called Plowing the Dark.
“And it’s actually based on the life of Anton Chekov, who apparently – he and his wife never were together, so they’re whole relationship was done through letters.”
Plowing the Dark is a duet and will be danced by Nashville Ballet veterans Sadie Bo Harris and John Upleger. In recent months the company’s performed two classical ballets: Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcraker. Upleger says it’s difficult to jump from classical to contemporary dance, but it’s a challenge he enjoys.
“You’ve got to have a very strong classical ballet background, but then at the same time you’re working these more contemporary, modern-type movements for the next series. So that’s really what sort of drives me to keep going as a dancer. I love that kind of versatility.”
The third and final dance is by choreographer Dominic Walsh and is entitled The Whistling. The company started learning the dance just two weeks ago when Walsh arrived in Nashville.
“It’s possible because it is an existing work, so that helps us. He knows exactly how much time he needs to stage it, and he can get the material out quickly and begin working with the dancers perfecting it.”
The Nashville Ballet’s Attitude will appear at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center beginning Friday for three days of performances. For show times and ticket prices you can visit nashvilleballet.com.