Nashville Ballet stages Holocaust project

Ballet Austin in Holocaust remembrance danceNashville Ballet will stage Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project this February, an internationally acclaimed contemporary ballet that journeys through one of history’s darkest hours to ultimately shine a spotlight on the triumph of the human spirit. Presented as part of the company’s annual Attitude series, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project comes to Music City from Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills on February 9-11 at TPAC’s Polk Theater.


Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project unfolds as Naomi Warren, a real-life Holocaust survivor, reflects on her life. Following one person’s journey through the catastrophic events of the Holocaust, the work aims to spread a message of resiliency, courage and, most importantly, hope. Created and choreographed by Mills, Light has traveled to cities all over the world since its premiere in Austin, Texas, in 2005. The ballet is set to a contemporary score by renowned composers Philip Glass, Evelyn Glennie, Michael Gordon, Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich.


Ballet Austin in Holocaust remembrance danceLight is a timely reminder of the fragility of human rights,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director & CEO Paul Vasterling said. “What’s unique about art is its ability to spark meaningful conversation, teach important lessons and leave lasting impressions that have the power to lead to change. Light is an especially poignant example of that as we not only reflect on the past, but also consider the present and our personal responsibility when we see acts of injustice today.”


Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project is a unique multi-disciplinary community partnership that promotes the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate through arts, education and public dialogue. Through a partnership with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Nashville Ballet will host a series of community conversations and events leading up to Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project to reflect on historical and contemporary issues of social injustice to promote understanding.


Ballet Austin in Holocaust remembrance danceFor example, from Tuesday, January 23 – Thursday, February 1, Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music Senior Lecturer Mitchell Korn will take people “Inside the Ballet”, exploring behind the scenes of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project.


Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project and its associated events are a part of a citywide initiative during 2018 to help Nashvillians reflect on their roles and contributions to social justice in our city and world. The community initiative is anchored by the Nashville Symphony’s Violins of Hope, an exhibit of and performance with musical instruments played in concentration camps during the Holocaust.


Tickets start at $35 for Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project and can be purchased in person at the TPAC Box Office in downtown Nashville, by phone at 615-782-4040 or at


Photos by Tony Spielberg, courtesy of Ballet Austin.