Kindling Arts Unveils 13 Projects For 7th Annual Festival Celebrating Local Contemporary Performance

Events will take place July 18-21.

By: May. 23, 2024
Kindling Arts Unveils 13 Projects For 7th Annual Festival Celebrating Local Contemporary Performance
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Highlights of the "Imperfections"-themed line-up include an immersive dance-theater murder-mystery experience, an outdoor sports-theater event between costumed monsters and humans, hilarious comedy throwbacks, and a dazzling assortment of dance and performance art pieces that push the boundaries of local performance.

Kindling Arts unveiled a stunning 13 projects today for its highly-anticipated 2024 Festival, all aligned with the Festival theme of Imperfections, to be performed during the Festival dates of July 18-21. Performance-based projects selected from the staggering 100+ proposals include a collaboration between teen songwriters and professional choreographers exploring the many facets of girlhood, an outdoor sporting event between lovable monsters and a team of humans, an immersive dance-theater 'whodunit' adapted for a multi-level music studio, and a high-flying aerial circus show set in an all-too-perfect sitcom world that starts to unravel. These and many more unclassifiable performance experiences will be held at OZ Arts Nashville, The Darkhorse Theatre, Nashville School for the Aerial Arts, and Welcome to 1979. Additional programming at Begonia Labs in partnership with the Engine for Art, Democracy, and Justice and the Global Education Center will be announced in early June.

Among the adventurous performance experiences headlining the 2024 Festival is the premiere of Asia Pyron / PYDANCE's murder-mystery-gone-wrong, Murder of Crows. This sensational dance-theater performance invites audiences to an elegant soirée where nothing is quite as it seems. Amidst wealthy dames, devious socialites, and a few overly enthusiastic, good-for-nothing party-goers, what was meant to be the most festive night of the season becomes stained with scandal. This ambitious new work from one of the city's most exciting choreographers takes over the stunning Welcome to 1979 music studio in West Nashville, marking Kindling's debut in this unique space.

Outdoors on Saturday evening (with a Sunday rain date), audiences can engage with the delightfully humorous Monsterball from creators Daniel Carter & Jessika Malone and their production company Rabbit Effect, the team behind the wildly popular Bar Fight series. This uniquely imaginative, free performance pits life-size furry monsters against actual Nashville residents in a sporting contest that mixes improvisational comedy with the excitement and antics of a minor league baseball game. This one-of-a-kind sports-theater experience promises to be one of the most memorable events of the Festival.

OZ Arts will be a home for boundary-pushing dance works from more than a dozen local choreographers. In addition to multiple dance showcases that include buzzworthy talents like Kourtney "Koko" French, Dogs Eat Wind, and Numinous Flux, just to name a few, the OZ stage will also feature an ambitious collaboration between teen songwriters and professional choreographers. The Girlhood Project, presented in partnership with Girls Write Nashville, celebrates the diverse and dynamic expressions of girlhood, beautifully rendered through a remarkable cross-generational collaboration of local songwriters, musicians, and dancers. Choreographers Becca Hoback, Phylicia Roybal, Joi Ware, and Alex Winer will create original works for a company of 10+ dancers, ranging in age from 15 to 50. This groundbreaking performance project is made possible by the Bonnaroo Works Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Thrill-seeking festival-goers can head over to Nashville School for the Aerial Arts for popular circus events. Suspended Gravity presents the highly theatrical, jaw-dropping Flip Your Lid! which portrays the adventures and misadventures of life inside a fictional sitcom that breaks when a mysterious alternate dimension begins to cross frequencies with the too-perfect sitcom reality. Meanwhile, independent aerial artists will also showcase their talents with new short works in Stronger, featuring six short aerial performances anchored by InFlight Entertainment's powerful and personal group piece "This is Me."

On Charlotte Ave, the Darkhorse Theatre hosts several comedic theater creations, including Seth Nathan Green Performs a One-Person Show, in which titular performer Seth Nathan Green and director Emma Supica create an anything-but-solo show about the making of a solo show, and The Rad House, a throwback to a fictionalized 1997 sitcom from the hilarious trio Hayley Rose Maurer, Kara McLeland, and Conway Preston. The Darkhorse will also be the home for the sensual Fleur Noire, a 16-person, all-Black burlesque performance inspired by Minnie Ripperton's classic album Come to My Garden, led by Violet Bonner with accompaniment from DJ Afrosheen.

Additional projects in the 2024 Festival include:

  • Lost & Found: Four Dances featuring longer works from dynamic choreographers Dogs Eat Wind, Kourtney "Koko" French, Spencer Grady, and Becca Hoback

  • Unclassified: A Performance Art Showcase that shines a light on boundary-breaking and tech-infused new works by Britt Byrd, Sara Beth Go, GrandmaFun, Frederico Carvalho Junqueira, and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva

  • Out of Sight, a short-form dance showcase that includes a variety of contemporary, Hip-hop, and tap dance creations from Jasmine Clark & Gracyn Preston, Friends Life Community, Sari Hoke, Numinous Flux, Brendan Pinkett, and Kyrstin Young & DeTavius Boyd

  • Failed Catholic, a heartwarming comedic journey from Jessica Farmer that explores the tangled web of faith, virginity, and unconditional love, directed by Heather Hull

  • The So Low Party, a vulnerable and outrageous solo performance from Jack Stell, directed by Hannah Dorfman of Amm Skellars fame

"Kindling is dedicated to celebrating Nashville's radically unique independent artists. This year, we are excited to explore the theme of 'Imperfections,' which is more than just a theme-it's a powerful lens through which we can examine our humanity," said Co-Artistic Directors Daniel Jones and Jessika Malone. "The performances this year highlight the courage and creativity of artists who confront and celebrate their flaws, inviting audiences to reflect on their own experiences. This theme reminds us that our imperfections make us unique and are often the source of our greatest strengths. We are overjoyed to share these thrilling, thought-provoking, and inspiring works with Nashville and hope the performances open up a space for deeper connections and authentic storytelling that resonates with our diverse community."

Standard and VIP Festival Passes are on sale now at The Standard Weekend Pass provides access to all Festival offerings at the early bird pricing of $95, while a VIP Weekend Pass, including premium seating at applicable events and a Kindling T-shirt, has an early bird price of $135. Prices will increase when the full slate of programming is announced and individual tickets go on sale in early June.

Kindling Arts Festival 2024 is made possible, in part, by support from Metro Arts Nashville, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Bonnaroo Works Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, Nashville Scene, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Pierce PR, South Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Studio Bank, and The Backlot Studio. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Producing Artistic Director Daniel Jones at

Members of the media interested in covering the festival may apply for media accreditation online here.


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