by Pat Patrick
Inside Out Nashville

When asked if his tenure with Nashville Ballet seemed like ten years, Artistic Director Paul Vasterling paused then said, "Yeah. Ten years. It’s like a relationship really. In some ways it seems like yesterday, and in others it seems like forever."

"In many ways, it’s just as exciting as it has ever been… just as challenging. It definitely keeps me on my toes."

Vasterling has become a true treasure in the burgeoning Nashville arts community over the past decade, but his accomplishments are by no means limited to the Music City.

Regarded internationally as an authority in the field of dance, the award-winning choreographer provides visionary leadership has provided visionary leadership to Nashville Ballet by focusing on moving the art form forward while paying homage to its classic roots.

"I took the job to be a choreographer, but now I find the joys and sorrows to be very different. Today, I love to see dancers grow. It’s great to experience them growing as dancers and as people."

It is this drive to that has produced one of the most meaningful contributions to the Nashville dance community. His commitment to developing the "dancers of tomorrow" inspired him to develop a second company: Nashville Ballet 2. And this group focuses on shaping young dancers and training them in the distinct aesthetic that gives Nashville Ballet its unique identity.

That unique identity—shaped by Vasterling’s vision and guidance—will deliver Nashville Ballet’s Fall Series which celebrates Vasterling’s ten-year anniversary and is highlighted by Dracula.

In conjunction with Nashville Ballet’s production of Dracula, the Lambda and Classics Book Groups at Davis-Kidd Booksellers will come together on Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 PM to discuss Bram Stoker’s dark, timeless tale. Vasterling will join the groups to provide his insights on the novel as well as the challenges of interpreting the literary work.
"It’s always difficult to distill emotions and characters to basic parts," said Vasterling.

"You have to be so succinct in story-telling."

With Vasterling’s track record, audiences can feel assured that those emotions will be on display in depths and layers via movement and gestures.

Show times for Nashville Ballet’s Fall Series—which features Valse-Fantaise and Ballet: Tango-  in addition to Vasterling’s chilling take on Dracula—are as follows:

  • Friday, October 26 at 8 p.m. at TPAC’s Polk Theatre
  • Saturday, October 27 at 8 p.m. at TPAC’s Polk Theatre
  • Sunday, October 28 at 2 p.m. at TPAC’s Polk Theatre Tickets for Nashville Ballet’s

Fall Series range from $19 to $59 and are available at the TPAC box offices (downtown and at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in the Mall at Green Hills). For more information, visit

Founded in 1981 as a civic dance company, Nashville Ballet has become Tennessee’s largest professional ballet company and is also the second-largest arts organization in Middle Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical pieces and contemporary works by noted choreographers. Through performance and education/outreach programs, Nashville Ballet reaches more than 40,000 adults and children annually.

Pat Patrick can be reached at

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