CEO & Artistic Director
Paul Vasterling stepped into the role of Artistic Director of Nashville Ballet in 1998, ten years after he began his association with the company. He came as a company dancer and later served as a teacher, ballet master and choreographer. After several years of artistic turnover at the company, Vasterling applied for the job, a position he has held ever since. In the spring of 2010, at the Board's request, Vasterling took on the additional role of CEO for the ballet.
A choreographer with a deep affinity for music, Vasterling has created more than 40 works, ranging from classical, full-length story ballets to more contemporary one-acts set to the music of local artists. Vasterling's penchant and particular gift is for storytelling, which he has done vividly in such ballets as Dracula, Romeo and Juliet, and, most recently, A Midsummer Night's Dream. His ballets have been performed from South America to Asia, everywhere to great acclaim. Stateside, reviews have been equally glowing, with New York magazine Attitude writing of his work, "America has not lost its sense of value of elegant dancing as art." Beyond his own choreography, Vasterling has edited and updated classic productions of Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, and has expanded the company's repertoire to include works by Salvatore Aiello, George Balanchine, James Canfield, Lew Christensen and Twyla Tharp, among many others. He has also encouraged company dancers who have shown an interest in choreography, giving them the same opportunity to create that he received from artistic directors.
In 2004, Vasterling received a Fulbright Scholarship that enabled him to work with three different companies in Argentina, paving the way for Nashville Ballet's tour there a year later. In 2008, Vasterling raised the curtain on Nashville's Nutcracker, making a holiday tradition local and newly relevant. His 2009 premiere of Carmina Burana, a ballet he had long wanted to present, was a huge success with critics and audiences alike. Critic Pamela Gaye noted in her review for Ballet.co.uk, "Choreographically, Carmina Burana challenges dancers... because of the call to intensify the dance and render it equal in power to the music. Few choreographers have been able to achieve this momentum, and it is at this task that Vasterling excelled."
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Loyola University, Vasterling has set a new standard for arts development. Under his leadership, the company's resources have grown by close to 300 percent and Nashville Ballet became the first local performing arts organization to purchase its own building. He has transformed a troupe of 12 professional dancers into a company of 22, and his commitment to developing the dancers of tomorrow inspired him to establish a second pre-professional company of 25 dancers. Vasterling has shaped Nashville Ballet into a company high on artistry and dramatic power as well as commanding technical ability and virtuosity.