Annual Gala Celebrates the Legacy of Johnny Cash
by Heather Thorne
Ballet goes country (and a little rock ‘n’ roll) when Nashville Ballet’s annual fundraising gala Ballet Ball pays homage to Johnny Cash through a collaboration with his son John Carter Cash and guest appearances by several internationally recognized artists at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Saturday, March 3.
The event, which raises funds to present educational dance programming to more than 30,000 underserved youth and families throughout Middle Tennessee each year, will feature a set list of songs written or popularized by Johnny Cash curated by John Carter Cash and performed by some of Cash’s friends and/or favorite artists. The star-studded lineup includes nine-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter and performer Sheryl Crow, CMA, BMI and ACM Award-winning country artist Ronnie Dunn (of the most successful country music duo of all time Brooks & Dunn), ACM and CMA Award-winning singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson, Native American Grammy Award-winning artist, songwriter and flutist Bill Miller, country music newcomer and YouTube mashup sensation Devin Dawson, John Carter Cash himself and his wife Ana Cristina Cash.
To celebrate the legacy of Johnny Cash, musical guests will share the stage with Nashville Ballet dancers who will perform excerpts of Under the Lights, a contemporary ballet choreographed by Christopher Stuart. Cash was also the collaborative partner behind Nashville Ballet’s production of this work, which debuted in 2014 and features some of Johnny Cash’s most iconic songs. Cash was no stranger to dance when Nashville Ballet approached him in 2013 to create a ballet set to his father’s music. He grew up attending ballet performances around the world with his mother while his father toured. Cash said, “My mother always had a great respect for the art of ballet. I recall first attending the ballet as a boy while on tour in London. I am grateful and honored to be a part of the Nashville Ballet’s endeavors.”
The gala performance celebrates the Cash legacy just weeks before Johnny Cash Forever Words the Music is released by Sony Legacy on April 6. The album is based off the 2016 book Forever Words: The Unknown Poems, a collection of his previously unpublished lyrics and poems. John Carter Cash offered those the poems to contemporary musicians to complete and record. Featured musicians span across genres and include Kacey Musgraves, Chris Cornell and Brad Paisley.
Recognizing his artistic collaboration and entrusting Nashville Ballet to bring the “Johnny Cash ballet” to life, Cash will receive the third annual Synergy Award from Nashville Ballet, which honors musical artists who enable and promote the creative partnership between music and dance.
Ballet Ball 2018 is chaired by Mrs. Adrienne McRae and Mrs. Suzanne Smothers with Honorary Chair Mrs. Nancy Cheadle.
Tickets for Ballet Ball are by invitation only, but the general public is invited to purchase tickets to the Ballet Ball Late Party, which features cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a seat at the gala performance. Late Party Co-Chairs Leigh and Brewer Adams, Rachel and JJ Ailor, Rachel and Justin Albright and Grace and Bradley French, have programmed an evening of dancing to the tunes of Bizz & Everyday People, who were recently named Indie R&B Group/Artist of the Year at the 2nd Annual Indie Ville TV Awards. Late Party tickets are $175.00 per person.
For more information about Ballet Ball or to purchase tickets to the Late Party, please visit Nashville Ballet’s website.
About John Carter Cash John Carter Cash has been involved in music all his life. He is an accomplished and award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter and author. He is the only child from the marriage of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and he carries on the family tradition of creativity and music. In 1999, he was co-producer for his mother’s album Press On, which went on to win the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. He continued his studio work with his father, serving as Associate Producer under Rick Rubin for the Grammy- winning American Recordings series, including American III: Solitary Man and American IV: The Man Comes Around.
His extensive career in producing inspired music includes his mother’s album Wildwood Flower, Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family (various artists), Marty Stuart’s Badlands, Joe Shaver’s Everybody’s Brother, and Loretta Lynn’s Full Circle. In all, John Carter Cash has received 5five Grammy Awards as producer, with a total of 12 nominations. He has produced hundreds of recordings for dozens of artists within the past twenty years, including Chris Cornell, Jamey Johnson, George Jones, Jewel, Brooks & Dunn, Elvis Costello, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, and Alison Krauss and Union Station. As he produces and listens to numerous genres of music, his own musical recordings and compositions are naturally across the board. Universal Music Group released John Carter Cash’s Bitter Harvest in 2003. His 2010 album The Family Secret received many accolades, including a three-starred review in Rolling Stone. His upcoming album, We Must Believe in Magic, will be available in the spring of 2018.
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), provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its Community Engagement programming. Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. In addition, School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students ages 2 to 70.
Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.
by Heather Thorne