Todd Family Foundation funds apprenticeships
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling has announced the 2019-2020 season roster. Vasterling promotes three artists from within and welcomes four newcomers to the organization. Nashville Ballet’s company now includes 25 artists, approximately 50 percent of which are alumni of NB2, Nashville Ballet’s official second company, as well as two School of Nashville Ballet alumni. Nashville Ballet’s company and NB2 dancers are selected from a rigorous nationwide audition process from a pool of over 500 qualified applicants.
“The level of talent and artistry within our company has never been greater, an accomplishment that wouldn’t be possible without the increased strength of our school and our second company,” said Vasterling. “It’s wonderful to see our company grow and flourish in the same way that our city continues to by bringing in fresh and diverse perspectives.”
After joining Nashville Ballet in 2017 as an apprentice, Jackson Bradshaw of Los Angeles, California has been promoted to company member. Imani Sailers of Chicago, Illinois has also been promoted from apprentice to company member; Sailers receives this promotion after joining NB2 in 2017 and becoming a company apprentice the following season. Vasterling also welcomes Lydia McRae of Kernersville, North Carolina and Daniel Rodriguez of New York, New York as company members. McRae joins Nashville Ballet after four seasons with Ballet Memphis; Rodriguez joins from Kansas City Ballet.
The 2019-2020 season will also welcome three Patricia and Louis Todd apprentices to the company in what is the inaugural year of a transformational gift for the organization. After two years in NB2, Erin Williams has been promoted to the company. A Tennessee native, Williams began her training with School of Nashville Ballet’s Academy in 2006; she continued her training in Nashville Ballet’s Professional Training Division before being hired to the second company. Truman Lemire of Huntsville, Alabama and Noah Miller of Lake Forest, California have also been hired as company apprentices. Lemire joins Nashville Ballet from Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Professional Division and Miller joins after two years as a trainee at Texas Ballet Theater.
The generous support of the Todd Family Foundation allows Nashville Ballet to further invest in the next generation of artists and to continue strengthening the company by contributing to the salaries of this season’s newly-hired apprentices, as well as those returning from the 2018-2019 season. Patricia and Louis Todd were intimately involved in and supported Nashville Ballet from its very conception through more than 30 years. The Todd family’s generous gift commemorates this lifelong investment and their unwavering care and advocacy for the company’s artists, in particular. The 2019-2020 Patricia and Louis Todd apprentices represent the future of Nashville Ballet.
In addition to recognizing the new company members, the organization is also pleased to announce a new principal conductor for the upcoming season. Ming Luke will join Nashville Ballet as the conductor for all of the organization’s performances accompanied by the Nashville Symphony. Principal guest conductor for San Francisco Ballet, Luke has conducted and performed with numerous exemplary organizations including Berkeley Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, and San Francisco Opera, among others.
Nashville Ballet’s 2019-2020 season features thought-provoking, entertaining programming that raises a mirror to society in an exploration of perceptions, standards and stereotypes including thrilling blockbusters like Romeo and Juliet and A Streetcar Named Desire. Single tickets go on sale July 1. Season ticket packages are available now offering dance enthusiasts early access to purchase tickets at discounts of up to 50% off. For season tickets, please call (615) 297-2966 x710 or visit www.nashvilleballet.com.
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 60,000 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. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students age 2 to 70.
Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metro Arts, 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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