BWW Interviews: Nashville Ballet's Mark Allyn Nimmo, This Dancer's Life

August 2
12:22 PM 2011


Mark Allyn Nimmo is typical of contemporary young male dancers found on stages the world over today, combining athleticism with grace, as he pursues a burgeoning career. By performing with a company like Nashville Ballet, Nimmo is given the opportunity to take on a number of artistic and physical challenges, all while gaining experience that pays off when he is onstage: It's hard to take your eyes off him when he dances.

For Nimmo, who very intelligently is able to combine pragmatism with creativity, Nashville provides the perfect home as he develops his talents and adds impressive credits to his ever-growing resume

"My career is just beginning," he explains. "I'm excited to see what the future holds for me. In this career you never know what you will be doing, where you will be going or who you're going to be meeting!"

With the start of Nashville Ballet's 2011-12 season not too far off, Nimmo was able to find the time to answer our questions to give us a better insight into "This Dancer's Life." Read, enjoy and get to know him better...  

What was your first introduction to dance as an art form? Going to New York City with my school, Governor's School for the Arts, and being submerged in every facet of dance.

What was your first real job as a dancer? At 13 I was hired by a company that produced shows for kids. I played Charlie, a little boy who was able to explore the inside of the magic sand castle he built on the beach.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in dance? It was sometime during my junior year of high school, after I saw Richmond Ballet do Giselle.

Who is your dancing idol? Todd Rosenlieb, my dance teacher. He's not a ballet dancer but is so inspiring both on and off the stage

Why do you pursue your art in Nashville? What are the best parts of working here? I originally started in Nashville because I wanted to learn under Adam Sage, but I stayed because Nashville as a community so strongly supports Nashville Ballet and art in general!


What is your dream role as a dancer? If you could dance any role...what would it be and why? Romeo. There is no role I can think of that allows a man to become as vulnerable on stage as Romeo.

What is the brightest spot on your resume...what role/work is your most favorite? Doing Greek Dreams by Eric Hawkins. Not many dancers can say they have done any of Mr. Hawkins' work

What's the biggest misconception people have about dancers? Now, it's that we are all as crazy as Natalie Portman in BLACK SWAN. Also, that ballet is not real work!

Who would play you in the film version of your life story? Mark-Paul Gosselaar - back when he was doing Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell.

What's your favorite work created for dancers to perform? I absolutely love watching the swan corps in Swan Lake. While I will never know personally how challenging it is to do, to be able to watch it is the most breathtaking thing I have ever seen!

If you could have dinner with any three figures (living or dead, real or fictional) who are a part of the world of dance, who would you choose and why? Margot Fonteyn, Eric Hawkins and David Halburg. They each brought completely different things to the dance world and I would love to get them around a dinner table and listen to their conversation.

Imagine a young person seeing you onstage or seeing a production in which you played a major role coming up to you and asking you for advice in pursuing their own dream...what would you say? I would tell them to work hard, soak up as much information from as many different sources as you can and never let someone change your mind about what you want to do!

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About the Author

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor outstanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.


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