“Interdisciplinary work—dance, music and art—represents some of the most exciting new thinking in today’s visual and performing art worlds,” Watkins College of Art, Design & Film President Ellen L. Meyer said. “Collaboration across disciplines enables a sum that is truly greater than the parts. Watkins is proud to participate in this total artistic immersion.”
Formerly a biennial event, Emergence becomes an annual performance event this year at the intimate studio theater of The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet. Emergence features four short original pieces set to live music with visual and interactive elements, creating a live, performance art gallery for audience members.
“What ALIAS does in presenting chamber music – the innovation in programming and the interaction with the audience – fits perfectly with the goal of Emergence to bring the audience in as part of artistic collaborations,” ALIAS Artistic Director Zeneba Bowers said.
Kelsey Bartman, with Watkins student Kellie Taylor
Former Nashville Ballet apprentice and current Associate Artistic Director and Dancer at Pittsburgh’s Texture Contemporary Ballet, Kelsey Bartman choreographs a piece to the music of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber titled “Sonata Representativa.”
Bartman collaborates with Watkins Fine Art major Kellie Taylor to create a choreographed work inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Southern gothic short story The Yellow Wallpaper. Bartman and Taylor combine contemporary dance and modern technology to interpret the main character’s psychological transformation and descent into madness.
Christopher Stuart, with Watkins student Robert Grand
Currently a company dancer with Nashville Ballet, Christopher Stuart collaborates with Watkins Photography major Robert Grand to create an original performance set to “American Dreams” by Peter Schickele, with its Americana, folk feel.
“As a performer, I’ve always loved improvising and exploring different forms of movement,” Stuart said. “I’m always willing to try something new – that inhibition itself has inspired me to create a piece the represents how we can become trapped by what we do every day and how we sometimes have to struggle to escape from our own boxes.”
Grand will produce a video projection reflecting Stuart’s theme of breaking free from boxes. Using distorted clips, he explores the boundary of the pixel – the inherent building block of a digital image.
Brian Enos, with Watkins student Jessica Clay
Named “Best Up and Coming Choreographer” by the Houston Press, Brian Enos collaborates with Watkins Fine Art major Jessica Clay to create an original choreographed work to a piece of music composed by recent Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts titled “And Legions Will Rise.”
“This piece of music has an epic quality to it, and it’s surprising that only three instruments can make such a huge impact,” Enos said. “The music inspired me to choreograph a dance for three couples that each represents one of the three instruments in the composition.”
Enos’s vision for his Emergence piece inspired Clay to create sculptural set pieces inspired by architectural elements, in warm organic tones as a juxtaposition to Puts’s dark score.
Paul Vasterling, with Watkins student Moses Williams and ALIAS’ Matt Walker
Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling collaborates with ALIAS’s Matt Walker to create a new choreographic work set to a commissioned, original musical composition titled “Arabian Blues” from Walker, which makes its world premiere at Emergence. Four ALIAS musicians will perform the work and will be incorporated into the dance performance, themselves. They are working closely with Watkins Fine Art major Moses Williams to incorporate elements of experimental video, light projection and set construction to engage the viewer in an experience associated with memory and relationship.
“Emergence is all about welcoming the audience into the creative process,” Vasterling said. “It’s all about letting the audience into your head and showing them what you’re thinking so you can get feedback and decide where you want to go next with your art. It also gives new choreographers an opportunity to formulate their own creative processes. There are very few schools for learning how to be a choreographer, so opportunities like this give new artists a chance to develop their craft.”
Emergence will be held at The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet for four performances:
- Thursday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, May 19 at 2 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m.
Nashville Ballet is located at 3630 Redmon Street (37209) in West Nashville.
Tickets to Emergence are general admission for $28. They can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at (615) 782-4040 or online at www.nashvilleballet.com.
About ALIAS Chamber Ensemble
ALIAS is a nonprofit chamber ensemble dedicated to an innovative repertoire, artistic excellence, and a desire to give back to the community. Its wide-ranging repertoire brings Nashville audiences a mix of chamber music that cannot be heard anywhere else. In 2011, ALIAS released its first CD, “Hilos,” which went on to receive a Grammy nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance. ALIAS’s second CD, “Boiling Point,” featuring the chamber music of American composer Kenji Bunch, will be released on the Delos label in the fall.
About Watkins College of Art, Design & Film
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four-year baccalaureate college offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a Bachelor of Arts in Art, and a Professional Certificate in Film. The faculty and staff are committed to a learning-centered environment that challenges students to engage the mind, train the eye and cultivate talent and skill into an active realization of creative potential. Established in 1885 as a community-based learning institution, Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997. It continues to shape and positively influence the cultural horizon and economy of our community through art, design and film instruction in an academic setting, as well as through the Community Education program for youth, teens and adults.
About Nashville Ballet
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company NB2 (a pre-professional training company) serve nearly 70,000 adults and children annually through performances and our outreach and community engagement programming. Curriculum-based outreach programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. The School of Nashville Ballet provides world-class instruction in ballet and other forms of dance for dancers of all ages.