Nashville Ballet Receives NEA Grant to Support New Contemporary Dance Work

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced recently that Nashville Ballet is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide-and only one of two organizations in Tennessee-to receive an NEA Art Works grant.

Nashville Ballet is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support the creation of a new contemporary ballet choreographed by Gina Patterson and set to the music of local singer-songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones, set to premiere in February 2013.

"Because these awards are given based on our likelihood for success in the creation of a new work, this award is a strong vote of confidence from the NEA in the creative prowess and administrative capabilities of Nashville Ballet," says Paul Vasterling, Nashville Ballet's artistic director and CEO and a 2012 First Night Honoree. "This grant will allow us to offer Nashville a new choreographed work inspired by the sounds of Music City."

The yet-to-be named new work from Patterson and Jones will be performed during Nashville Ballet's performance of Attitude February 15-17, with an excerpt from the piece featured during Ballet Ball on February 1.

An original member of the collaborative group of individual artists, Ten out of Tenn, Jones is one of the most sought-after songwriters in Nashville, with music featured on TV series One Tree Hill, Bones and Grey's Anatomy. Jones' popularity has fueled the success of his literary-inspired album Land of the Living released in June 2012.

Jones will collaborate with frequent Nashville Ballet guest choreographer Gina Patterson to create an original dance work set mostly to music from Land of the Living and his break-out hit "Save You" from the 2008 album Swallow the Sea.

Patterson's credentials as a choreographer extend across the globe, including two recent collaborations with Nashville Ballet-Cryin' Out, set to the music of Gary Nicholson, and Anne Frank, part of the repertory of Outreach performances designed to expose young people to the art of ballet.

"I'm proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public, including this work from Nashville Ballet," Landesman said. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs."

In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works requesting more than $74 million in funding. The 832 recommended NEA grants total $22.3 million, span 13 artistic disciplines and fields, and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit. 

Pictured: Paul Vasterling

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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis