Nashville is a city with a very broad arts community, considering the size of our town. It seems that whatever you are into, there’s a place in Nashville that does it on a world class scale. Ballet is no exception. Nashville Ballet is one of the finest, most revered Ballet companies in the nation. That’s for good reason. They know the classics, but are not afraid of new and modern pieces. Their current production of Under the Lights and Sergeant Early’s Dream are two of the most beautiful art productions I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
In their Attitude series, they’ve taken two stories and interpret them through dance. They being with Sergeant Early’s Dream, a collection of stories based around leaving Ireland set to Celtic music. A common theme that I noticed was they dealt with love, and how it can either triumph or backfire. The old songs are set to modern dance with dancers who contort their bodies to tell the story of the song being played behind them. There are a couple of dances that are light hearted and cheeky (that’s a pun you’ll understand when you see the show), and one that breaks your heart when a woman loses the man she loves to a hanging. It runs the gamut of emotions, and very likely you will too.
These dances are meant to get you ready for the main event, though, which is beyond captivating.
I am not going to even mention the fact that there are a troupe of shirtless men (and only men) dancing to the Folsom Prison Blues in the modern telling of the story of Johnny and June Carter Cash. Under the Lights features music from Johnny and June, telling their love story through interpretive dance. All the dancers represent the iconic lovers at different points in their life. Some of the songs featured are "Jackson," "Ring of Fire," and, the most moving performance, "Hurt." It also includes a couple of songs made famous by the house band, which just so happens to be the ridiculously talented Sugar + The Hi-Lows. Dressed in flowing skirts for the ladies and tight pants for the gentlemen, the dancers move gracefully and weave their tales in dramatic sequence. It’s truly the perfect combination of Nashville and ballet. I’d love to see them tackle a couple of stories in country music history considering this show is such a blatant hit.
There is very likely nothing else happening on your weekend schedule that is more important than you seeing this incredible production. If you have never been to a ballet, this is the perfect Ballet 101 show. It’s an absolute smash. Very few tickets remain for Saturday, but I hear there are still a few available on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. This is not a show to be missed.
You can purchase tickets online, call the TPAC Box office at 615-782-4040, or visit the box office in person during regular business hours.