Heart of the dance

After weeks of full-time training, so grueling on the body, the dancers of Nashville Ballet have scored another winner with their winter performance. The Director's Choice event, driven by the creative vision of artistic director Paul Vasterling, proved to be a popular treat for audience members during Friday night's debut performance.

The Ballet offered three distinctly different pieces as part of this season's offerings. The session's first piece, The Story Teller, debuted at The Australian Ballet in 1997 and now make its North American debut at the Nashville Ballet. Created by famous choreographer Twila Tharp, the piece illustrates the personal story of one character through the routines of four dancers. Each aspect of the performance speaks to the power of a culture's oral history: an orchestral opening segues into a series of tribal beats, followed by a few yearning melancholy strains of music. As a woman's harrowing cry rings out in the final passage, the dancers give a showcase of grace and precision in their movements and emotions.

An Asian legend about an encounter between a wind god and a leaf, Satto is the second piece of the evening, performed by Mollie Sansone and Jon Upleger. The duo display a charming chemistry: Sansone gives a graceful account as the traveling leaf, showing exquisite balance as she gallops across the stage; Upleger's performance is as dynamic as his partner's is delicate, full of powerful athletic leaps that capture this unstoppable force of nature.

While Satto focuses on more sensual impulses, Nashville Ballet original Postcards from the Boys is a fascinating bit of social commentary. Featuring music written by Nashville singer-songwriters Guy Clark and Darrell Scott, the pinnacle piece of the evening portrays the worldwide epidemic of homelessness. Nashville composer Conni Ellisor has built a beautiful arrangement that captures the stark realities of this important issue.

Acclaimed songwriter Shawn Camp performs the music with a seven-member orchestra alongside the dancers. His ragged baritone is the perfect vehicle for these hard-luck tales of heartsick characters. The program becomes more intense as it progresses: Even as every movement expresses empathy for these subjects, the dancers' sheer will can't quell the problems that many homeless people face every day. The Nashville Ballet, in all three pieces of their winter performance, proves the old saying true: art imitates life.

National Margarita Day

A lot of us have really picked up an interest in tequila and it's no wonder. Its popularity is soaring in the U.S. and doesn't look like it'll be slowing down any time soon. The only contender would probably be whiskey. Meh, but they have their own day. Now, it's National Margarita Day and we put together some of the best margarita recipes around so you can pick one or maybe even all of them to try.

We have a few surprises in there too. Maybe it's not all about tequila but it certainly has a theme going on. Take a look at some of these great tequila brands and start making some amazing margaritas today!

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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Disclaimer: My trip was provided courtesy of a press trip but all opinions about the trip and events are my own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

I had the opportunity to visit Mexico for an event José Cuervo was putting on, the unveiling of their premium tequila brand, Reserva de la Familia. The trip was all about tequila, how to drink it properly, how to pair it with food, and of course, visiting various points of interest in Guadalajara while tasting tequila along the way.

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