Dance Review: Peter Pan

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Magic flies through the air and glides across the stage with the return of Nashville Ballet's spectacular production of "Peter Pan," Sept. 18 - 20 at TPAC's Jackson Hall. (photo credit: Karyn Photography)

Nashville Ballet presents:
Peter Pan (Sept. 18 – 20; All ages)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
615-782-4040 •
Fri 7:30 p.m., Sat 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $28 – $89

Nashville Ballet kicks off its 30th anniversary season with the triumphant return of its family-friendly masterpiece, Peter Pan.

Nashville Ballet’s production of this magical story premiered in 2013, with original choreography by the company’s Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling — he also hand picked the show’s score comprising classical works from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a good dose of music by French composer Claude DeBussy. Martin West leads the Nashville Symphony in providing the dancers with a lush musical backdrop throughout the journey.

This production of the familiar J.M. Barrie story becomes a lot more exquisite with the implementation of actual flying over the stage. It’s pure magic to see Peter, Wendy, Michael, John and Tinker Bell soar through the air, and Vasterling’s direction makes it a seamless extension of the characters’ dance routines.

Augusto Cezar reprises the lead role of Peter Pan, and he perfectly exudes the child-like charm and mischievousness of the boy who never grows up. Likewise, Kayla Rowser once again plays Tinker Bell, and she’s a wonderful delight on stage dancing with all the elegance you expect from a magical fairy.

Mollie Sansone serves up amazing pointe work as Wendy during the scenes in the nursery while Nicolas Scheuer as John and Brett Sjoblom as Michael give the audience a fantastic performance capturing lots of boyhood playfulness.

Jon Upleger’s portrayal of Captain Hook is fabulous, bringing a lot of life and incredible dancing to the stage.

There’s a good bit of humor thrown in for great measure as well, particularly the top-notch execution of the choreography by the funny cast of bumbling pirates (Jorge Cardozo, Damian Drake, Kevin Terry, Judson Veach, Nathan Young and Richard Link). In addition, Hook’s other nemesis — the tick-tock crocodile (Christian Crawford) — is a wonderful splash of humor and energy with his taunting, tail-wagging antics.  One of the show’s most memorable moments is the slow-motion fight scene aboard the pirate ship.

Campbell Baird’s costuming is brilliant, matched only by his outstanding scenic design. There’s so much depth and dimension across the stage, and his creation of Neverland is deliciously enchanting.

If you have young kids who’ve yet to experience a Nashville Ballet production, Peter Pan is an absolute best bet for introducing them to the fanciful art and beauty of dance. The company magnificently draws the audience into the timeless tale, and it’s a joyful escape into the child-at-heart mentality in us all.


Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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