Annual Gala Celebrates the Legacy of Johnny Cash

Ballet goes country (and a little rock and roll) when Nashville Ballet’s annual fundraising gala Ballet Ball pays homage to Johnny Cash through a collaboration with his son John Carter Cash and guest appearances by several internationally recognized artists at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on March 3.

The event, which raises funds to present educational dance programming to over 30,000 underserved youth and families throughout Middle Tennessee each year, will feature a set list of songs written or popularized by Johnny Cash curated by John Carter Cash and performed by some of Cash’s dear friends and/or favorite artists. The star-studded lineup includes nine-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter and performer Sheryl Crow, CMA, BMI and ACM Award-winning country artist Ronnie Dunn of the most successful country music duo of all time Brooks & Dunn, ACM and CMA Award-winning singer/songwriter Jamey Johnson, Native American Grammy award winning artist, songwriter and flutist Bill Miller, Country music newcomer and YouTube mashup sensation Devin Dawson, John Carter Cash himself and his wife Ana Cristina Cash.

To celebrate the legacy of Johnny Cash, musical guests will share the stage with Nashville Ballet dancers who will perform excerpts of “Under the Lights,” a contemporary ballet choreographed by Christopher Stuart. Cash was also the collaborative partner behind Nashville Ballet’s production of this work, which debuted in 2014, and features some of Johnny Cash’s most iconic songs. Cash was no stranger to dance when Nashville Ballet approached him in 2013 to create a ballet set to his father’s music. He grew up attending ballet performances around the world with his mother while his father toured. Says Cash: “My mother always had a great respect for the art of ballet. I recall first attending the ballet as a boy while on tour in London. I am grateful and honored to be a part of the Nashville Ballet’s endeavors.”

The gala performance celebrates the Cash legacy just weeks before “Johnny Cash Forever Words the Music” is released by Sony Legacy on April 6. The album is based off the 2016 book “Forever Words: The Unknown Poems,” a collection of his previously unpublished lyrics and poems. John Carter Cash offered those the poems to contemporary musicians to complete and record. Featured musicians span across genres and include Kacey Musgraves, Chris Cornell and Brad Paisley.

Recognizing his artistic collaboration and entrusting Nashville Ballet to bring the “Johnny Cash ballet” to life, Cash will receive the third annual Synergy Award from Nashville Ballet, which honors musical artists who enable and promote the creative partnership between music and dance.

Ballet Ball 2018 is chaired by Mrs. Adrienne McRae and Mrs. Suzanne Smothers with Honorary Chair Mrs. Nancy Cheadle.

The evening features a menu by Kristen Winston Catering, selected wine pairings provided by Lipman Brothers and event design by Bruce Pittman Inc.

Tickets for Ballet Ball are by invitation only, but the general public is invited to purchase tickets to the Ballet Ball Late Party, which features cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a seat at the gala performance. Late Party Co-Chairs Leigh and Brewer Adams, Rachel and JJ Ailor, Rachel and Justin Albright and Grace and Bradley French, have programmed an evening of dancing to the tunes of Bizz & Everyday People, who were recently named Indie R&B Group/Artist of the Year at the 2nd Annual Indie Ville TV Awards. Late Party tickets are $175.00 per person.

For more information about Ballet Ball or to purchase tickets to the Late Party, please visit Nashville Ballet’s website.

About John Carter Cash
John Carter Cash has been involved in music all his life. He is an accomplished and award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter and author. He is the only child from the marriage of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and he carries on the family tradition of creativity and music. In 1999, he was co-producer for his mother’s album Press On, which went on to win the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. He continued his studio work with his father, serving as Associate Producer under Rick Rubin for the Grammy- winning American Recordings series, including American III: Solitary Man and American IV: The Man Comes Around.

His extensive career in producing inspired music includes his mother’s album Wildwood Flower, Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family (various artists), Marty Stuart’s Badlands, Joe Shaver’s Everybody’s Brother, and Loretta Lynn’s Full Circle. In all, John Carter Cash has received 5five Grammy Awards as producer, with a total of 12 nominations. He has produced hundreds of recordings for dozens of artists within the past twenty years, including Chris Cornell, Jamey Johnson, George Jones, Jewel, Brooks & Dunn, Elvis Costello, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, and Alison Krauss and Union Station. As he produces and listens to numerous genres of music, his own musical recordings and compositions are naturally across the board. Universal Music Group released John Carter Cash’s Bitter Harvest in 2003.   His 2010 album The Family Secret received many accolades, including a three-starred review in Rolling Stone. His upcoming album, We Must Believe in Magic, will be available in the spring of 2018.

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), provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its Community Engagement programming. Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. In addition, School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students ages 2 to 70.

Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.

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Nashville Ballet will premiere Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project this February, an internationally acclaimed contemporary ballet that journeys through one of history’s darkest hours to ultimately shine a spotlight on the triumph of the human spirit. Presented as part of Nashville Ballet’s annual Attitude series, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project comes to Music City from Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills February 9-11, 2018, at TPAC’s Polk Theater.

Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project unfolds as Naomi Warren, a real-life Holocaust survivor, reflects on her life. Following one person’s journey through the catastrophic events of the Holocaust, the work aims to spread a message of resiliency, courage and, most importantly, hope. Created and choreographed by Mills, Light has traveled to cities all over the world since its premiere in Austin, Texas, in 2005. The ballet is set to a contemporary score by renowned composers Philip Glass, Evelyn Glennie, Michael Gordon, Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich.

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Holiday Favorite Will Debut New Elements, Including Snow in the Audience

Nashville Ballet is celebrating 10 years of Nashville’s Nutcracker December 2-23, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall with all-new magical elements to mark the occasion. Since its world premiere in 2008, Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling’s original spin on the classic has cemented its place as one of Music City’s most beloved holiday traditions.

Nashville Ballet premiered The Nutcracker in 1989, but the production was reinvented as Nashville’s Nutcracker in 2008 with a unique concept incorporating Nashville’s vibrant past along with new choreography, sets, costumes and on-stage magic tricks. Now entering its 10th year, Nashville’s Nutcracker will debut additional elements to celebrate the milestone.

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Lizzie Borden Paired with World Premiere of The Raven

Nashville Ballet will present a haunting double feature of original works just in time for Halloween—the long-awaited return of Lizzie Borden based on the infamous double murder and the world premiere of The Raven inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem—October 26-28, 2017, at TPAC’s Polk Theater.

Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling’s Lizzie Borden examines the real-life double murder case of 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden was famously accused, tried and acquitted for the brutal ax murders of her father and stepmother in a case that remains one of the most controversial and sensationalized in American history.

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Dancer Talent in Spotlight During One of Ballet’s Most Physically Challenging Works

Nashville Ballet will open its performance season with one of the most beloved ballets of all time, The Sleeping Beauty, September 23-24, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. The Sleeping Beauty features some of the most challenging classical choreography ever created, an iconic score performed live by the Nashville Symphony, and sets and costumes never before seen in Music City.

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.

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Nashville Ballet will celebrate National Dance Day for the seventh consecutive year on Saturday, July 29 by offering free sample classes and choreography provided by the Fox hit reality show So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD).

The day will feature a sample of Nashville Ballet's regularly programmed Community Division Adult Classes (ages 18+) and Community Division Youth Classes (ages 8-18), but all ages are encouraged to participate on July 29 in honor of this annual nationwide celebration of dance. National Dance Day will take place at Nashville Ballet’s Nashville location (3630 Redmon Street Nashville, TN 37209).

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Nashville’s Nutcracker Tickets $5 off During Month of July

Nashville Ballet is celebrating 10 years of Nashville’s Nutcracker early with Christmas in July! For the entire month of July, Nashville Ballet is offering a special $5 off ticket* discount to Nashville’s Nutcracker with promo code XMASJULY, which provides the best single ticket prices all year.

Celebrating 10 years of awe-inspiring magic and dazzling holiday cheer, Nashville’s Nutcracker will ring in the season with 16 performances December 2-23, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall. In honor of its 10th year in Nashville, the production will debut additional characters and all-new magical elements. Nashville’s Nutcracker follows the classic adventure of young Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker with clever nods to Music City’s notable history, landmarks and characters.

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Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling has been selected as one of the Fellows in residence for the 2017-2018 academic year at The Center for Ballet and the Arts (CBA) at New York University, the first international institute devoted to the creation and academic study of ballet.

Entering its fourth year, the CBA Fellows program invites scholars and artists from the field of ballet and its related arts and sciences to work at the Center on their own scholarly and artistic projects. The program provides fellows with a stipend, access to studio and office space, an apartment in some cases and time away from daily life to focus on their specified project—a ballet, book, film, digital lecture series or other work of their imagining related in some way to ballet. It exists to inspire new ideas and ballets, to expand the understanding of ballet and to bring new vitality to its history, practice and performance in the 21st century.

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Audience Receives First Look at New Works and Opportunity to Interact with Artists

Nashville Ballet will close its 2016-2017 performance season with its popular experimental ballet series Emergence June 1-3, 2017, at Nashville Ballet’s Studio A. This season’s edition will feature the debut of three all-new Nashville Ballet collaborations only weeks in the making and the opportunity to interact with the artists to learn about the creative process.

Emergence was introduced to give artists the opportunity to create with less pressure and expectations,” Paul Vasterling, Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO, said. “When curating the lineup, I look specifically for choreographers and musicians of different genres of movement and sound that can challenge how we think about ballet.”

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Program Opens with Fresh Take on Classic Appalachian Spring

Nashville Ballet will explore two contemporary dance styles in one performance—a ballet set to brand-new music by acclaimed singer-songwriter collective Ten Out of Tenn and another featuring an iconic Aaron Copland score—at the world premiere of Seven Deadly Sins with Appalachian Spring May 5-7, 2017, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall.

The latest production from Nashville Ballet company dancer Christopher Stuart, who recently choreographed the smash-hit Johnny Cash ballet during February’s AttitudeSeven Deadly Sins follows one man’s journey as he is tempted by corrupt forces on his path to redemption. The performance will feature a genre-bending musical collaboration between Ten Out of Tenn and the Nashville Symphony.

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Two World Premieres, Four Debuts from World-Renowned Choreographers and 10 Years of Nashville’s Nutcracker

Nashville Ballet steps into its future with a bold 2017-2018 performance season that showcases the full spectrum of the art, from the pinnacle of classical ballet to fearless contemporary works. The upcoming season will be rounded out by the return of highly anticipated fan favorites and the 10th year of Nashville’s Nutcracker.

“Each year I’m continually reminded of the remarkable growth of our company and artists as I watch our dancers on stage,” Paul Vasterling, Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO, said. “My goal with each season is to curate a lineup that not only reflects that growth, but also challenges our dancers and audiences so we’re continually moving forward. That’s exactly what I see in this season—the next step for Nashville Ballet.”

Nashville Ballet 2017-2018 season tickets and tickets for groups of 10 or more go on sale to the public May 1 and can be purchased at www.nashvilleballet.com or by calling (615) 297-2966 x710. Tickets to individual performances go on sale July 1.

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Public Invited to Open House to Watch The Ben Folds Project Rehearsal on April 6

Nashville Ballet will make its debut appearance at the famed John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. to perform The Ben Folds Project April 17-23, 2017, as a part of the Ballet Across America series. Illustrating the most exciting, innovative dance happening across America today, the program is curated by major stars of the ballet world: American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Misty Copeland and New York City Ballet Resident Choreographer and Soloist Justin Peck.

The Ben Folds Project, which premiered to Nashville audiences in May 2014, showcases Folds’ original piano concerto (co-commissioned by Nashville Ballet, the Nashville Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra) to original choreography by Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling. Folds' concerto, featured on his So There album, debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Classical and Classical Crossover charts.

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