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Nashville Ballet to open 2017-18 Season with beloved classic

The Sleeping Beauty
Nashville Ballet in 'The Sleeping Beauty' in 2012. Photo by Marianne Leach.

Nashville Ballet will open its performance season with one of the most beloved ballets of all time, The Sleeping Beauty, on September 23-24, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. The Sleeping Beauty features some of the most challenging classical choreography ever created and this production will see the iconic score performed live by the Nashville Symphony.

The Sleeping Beauty

Nashville Ballet dancer in ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ in 2012. Photo by Marianne Leach.

The Sleeping Beauty ballet, based on the famous fairytale by Charles Perrault, debuted in 1890 featuring choreography by Marius Petipa (known as the “father of classical ballet”) and music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Even today, The Sleeping Beauty is regarded as the epitome of classical ballet.

The Sleeping Beauty has set the standard for classical dancing in the ‘academic’ style, meaning it uses the purest steps, movements and gestures to tell a story,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “Petipa was at the height of his choreographic prowess when he created The Sleeping Beauty. He made full use of the newly advanced pointe work, and the steps are still some of the most difficult around. Dancers are often measured by their ability to master this work, and it remains the ultimate test for a ballet company.”

The Sleeping Beauty

Nashville Ballet in ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ in 2012. Photo by Marianne Leach.

Last presented by Nashville Ballet in 2012, The Sleeping Beauty features Petipa’s original choreography with updates from Vasterling. The timeless tale follows Princess Aurora, who is cursed to sleep for 100 years until a dashing prince’s kiss breaks the spell. The Sleeping Beauty depicts the search for an idealized version of love, but also explores the conflicting forces of good vs. evil represented by the noble Lilac Fairy and villainous Carabosse.

Though Carabosse is a female character, the role is often performed by a male dancer. In Nashville Ballet’s production, company dancer Jon Upleger will dance the role for the first time. The professional company dancers will be joined on stage by more than 50 youth cast members age 6 and 7 years old from School of Nashville Ballet as flower girls and fairy pages.

The Sleeping Beauty

Nashville Ballet dancer in ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ in 2012. Photo by Marianne Leach.

The Sleeping Beauty is unique because its impressive choreography and rich history appeals to ballet connoisseurs, but the beloved storyline and enchanting elements—like Tchaikovsky’s famous music (which was featured in The Sleeping Beauty Disney film), the extravagant sets and costumes, and the charm of the youth cast—also makes it a fantastic introduction for a first-time visitor to the ballet,” Vasterling said.

The Sleeping Beauty will feature sets and costumes new to Nashville, traveling 1,626 miles from Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. The production will display 29 handmade tutus per performance that each required approximately 80 hours to create, equaling more than 2,300 hours total.

In addition to fairies, princesses and kings, The Sleeping Beauty also includes fairytale characters from Perrault’s other stories, including Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Puss in Boots.

For more information on The Sleeping Beauty, visit www.NashvilleBallet.com. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased online, by phone at 615-782-4040 or in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville.

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