Nashville Ballet’s experimental series, Emergence, is back again this season from May 24 through June 3. This time around, there’s a new element to the series. Fourteen up-and-coming artists collaborate with musicians from The Bluebird to create new works. The catch is they only have 12 hours in the studio prior to presenting.
“Emergence was introduced as a way of giving artists the opportunity to explore new creative concepts without the pressure of putting on a full length, polished production,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “This year I made a few changes to the series’ traditional format to further encourage artists to reject the pressure of perfectionism and embrace the creative freedom of a less formal production process.”
The choreographers for Emergence include several Nashville-based artists like Nashville Ballet faculty members Shabaz Ujima and Erin Kouwe, Nashville Ballet company dancers Julia Eisen, Gerald Watson, Judson Veach and Christopher Stuart. There’s also Fall Dance’s Rebekah Hampton Barger and Dorse Brown and New Dialect company members David Flores and Rebecca Steinberg.
“Nashville has such a thriving arts scene that when selecting choreographers for this series, it was very important to me to highlight the wealth of talent right here in our community,” Vasterling explained. “While curating this year’s Emergence, I was also careful to select a very diverse group of artists in terms of identity, background and style so that we provide audience members with an accurate portrait of the boundless inclusivity inherent to art.”
They didn’t just hire Nashville talent though. New York-based choreographer Darrell Moultrie, Heather Britt Dance Collective Founder Heather Britt, Kansas City Dance Festival Co-Artistic Director and Executive Director of Sacramento Ballet Anthony Krutzkamp and Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez round-out the exceptional program.
The Bluebird Cafe singer-songwriters slated to accompany the choreographers of Emergence are: Kelly Archer, Rick Brantley, Morgan Bosman, Kate Cosentino, Britton Deuel, frazier, Fred Knobloch, Tony Memmel, Taylor Noelle, Mo Pitney, SHANNON SANDERS, Lucie Silvas, Karlene Watt and Louis York.
Another unique part of Emergence is that it’s more like a festival than a series of ballets. The fourteen works make up three different lineups featured over the course of the five performances. Nashville Ballet’s collaboration with The Bluebird Cafe serves as the finale event of The Bluebird’s 35th-anniversary celebration. To commemorate it, each musician will perform live during the performance.
If you really want to experience Emergence, you can get a festival pass to see all three lineups. Those start at $28 per performance; a minimum of two performances must be purchased. Single performance tickets start at $35. Audiences can purchase tickets online, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville. A complete performance schedule and more information can be found online.