Dance Theatre of Tennessee Kicks Off BALLET IN THE PARK Series Today

In line with their mission of bringing the beauty of dance and the magic of ballet to the people, DTT presents BALLET IN THE PARK performance series from today, September 20 - 30, 2013.

The performances will be held at the Centennial Park Bandshell and is being presented in partnership with Metro Parks and Recreation. The City of Nashville through its Metro Parks have launched successful partnerships in presenting classical music (Symphony) and classical theater (Shakespeare) in a relaxed, relatable and easily accessible setting and DTT is thrilled to partner with Metro Parks in presenting classical dance as another way for the city and the entire community to experience live performing arts up-close and personal. Named as "Best Dance Series in Nashville," DTT is excited to bring back Ballet in the Park this time on a two-weekend run.

"The inaugural Ballet in the Park performance series was a success. Almost 1,300 people came and joined us for just 2 performances. Another 250 of them staying late Sunday night to wait with us for the weather to hold up," shares DTT Artistic Director Christopher Mohnani. "The response we got from the audience, which gave us rousing ovations after only two performances, was a strong indication of the need for an outdoor classical dance series. We were so honored and grateful that Dance Theatre of Tennessee was able to fulfill that need," adds Mohnani.

For this year's BALLET IN THE PARK, DTT will present GISELLE, the most romantic ballet in the classical repertoire. A story of love, betrayal and forgiveness, GISELLE combines beautiful choreography and music that has proved an eternal attraction for both newcomers as well as those already under its spell. "Classical ballet will always have a timeless appeal," shares Mohnani. "They are called classics for a reason. You come with no expectations and just let the graceful and athletic artistry you see on stage along with the beautiful melody and music transport you to a place you have never been. The experience is truly unlike any other."

GISELLE tells the story of an innocent peasant girl Giselle, who falls in love with a nobleman, Albrecht pretending to be another peasant, Loys. Through her long-time suitor, Hilarion, she soon discovers that it is all a lie and she goes mad and dies. Legend goes that the Willis, jilted brides who died before their wedding day, roams at night looking for their victims and wills them to dance until they die. Albrecht falls to their trap and is condemned to dance until he dies but Giselle comes back and forgives him and ultimately saves him from the wicked spell. "I have been fortunate to perform Albrecht in GISELLE several times during my dancing career and it remains one of my favorite roles and ballets. The combination of beautiful choreography, haunting music and timeless story of "love endures all" is very appealing and one that I feel will resonate with everyone," offers Mohnani. "What a perfect ballet to present at the park - imagine 16 ballerinas clad in flowing white long tutus, white veils, gliding under the stars. The choreography will stay true to the original highlighting the dramatic tension in the first Act and the ethereal, dreamlike state in the famous second Act," Mohnani further adds.

Artistic Director Christopher Mohnani provides choreography for GISELLE after Marius Petipa with music by Adolphe Adam. BALLET IN THE PARK is scheduled to run from September 20 - 29, 2013, Friday - Sunday. Local theater veteran Wesley Paine will perform the role of Giselle's Mother - Berthe. There will be a special performance on September 30, Monday as DTT's way of launching Artober - Nashville's city-wide and month long celebration of art in the city. The performances are free to the public. A suggested donation of $10 is encouraged and appreciated. All performance starts at 7:30pm with a pre-show entertainment at 6:30pm. Food Trucks will be on site to provide several dining options. Merchandise and concessions booth as well as a kid's tent will also be on site. All performances are at the Centennial Park Bandshell.

"BALLET IN THE PARK offers the community another outlet to experience and enjoy classical dance. We believe that this is a win-win for all. It provides maximum exposure of a classical art form and allows the community especially the youth to experience lives performing arts up-close and personal," says Mohnani.

The 2013 BALLET IN THE PARK performance series is presented in part by Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Nashville Metropolitan Parks and Recreation, the Tennessee Arts Commission NowPlayingNashville (Online Media Partner), Nashville Scene (Print Partner), Nashville Arts Magazine and Out and About Newspaper (Story Partners). For more information, please visit at http://www.dancetheatretn.org/balletinthepark.php or call 615-391-5500.

Check out a preview of the performances below!

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