In the Hot Seat: Ballet Ball Co-Chairs Sylvia Bradbury and Vicki Horne

For more than 30 years, the Nashville Ballet has celebrated its dancers and live musical performance at the Ballet Ball. When Sylvia Bradbury and Vicki Horne agreed to chair the black-tie gala for 2021, no one had heard of COVID-19, much less envisioned a global pandemic. Fortunately, the two women brought a wealth of experience to the table — among others, both have chaired Symphony Ball, Symphony Fashion Show and Heart Gala, although not together — and explored possible ways to hold the annual event. Eventually, it was decided to cancel the ball and focus critical funds on its mission of supporting the organization's community engagement programming.

Resources also went to a Nashville Ballet first: a televised broadcast premiere of Nashville's Nutcracker. In partnership with NewsChannel 5, the beloved holiday tradition will debut on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. and air multiple times through Dec. 25. Both Sylvia and Vicki recognize the critical role the ballet and the arts play in our city and the need to support them now more than ever. As Sylvia puts it, “The arts are fundamental to a vibrant, thriving community — strengthening our community socially, economically and educationally. The arts in their many forms bring joy, improve individual well-being and build bridges between cultures.” We chatted with Sylvia and Vicki about the Nashville Ballet, the TV premiere of the Nashville's Nutcracker and other ways to support the arts organization.

What can we expect when we tune in to watch Nashville's Nutcracker?

Sylvia: A free performance of the entire Nashville's Nutcracker production performed by the Nashville Ballet company dancers, students from the School of Nashville Ballet and narration by former Tennessee Titan Eddie George. The TV broadcast premiere will take place Friday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. on NewsChannel 5. It can also be streamed online, via their app, or on most smart TVs. In addition, a behind-the-scenes special, produced by NewsChannel 5, will be premiering. 

Vicki: Nashville Ballet partnered with NewsChannel 5 for the first-ever televised performance of Nashville's Nutcracker, bringing Music City's favorite holiday tradition into living rooms this holiday season! This performance was filmed specifically for television in Nashville Ballet's 12,000-square-foot warehouse and will showcase ballet in a way not typically seen from a theater. Nashville's Nutcracker is uniquely Nashville, because it takes place during the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition and features the city's iconic landmarks. 

How can we participate at home?

Sylvia: Enjoy the cherished holiday tradition of watching the annual Nashville's Nutcracker production with your entire family in the safety and comfort of your home. There will be an opportunity to support the Nashville Ballet and the Ballet Ball by donating during the broadcast. Together with your financial support, Nashville's Nutcracker can bring joy and hope to the entire Middle Tennessee community this holiday season. 

Vicki: First, please watch with your family and plan and tell your friends to watch. Make this a new family tradition, and next year, plan to see it in person at TPAC. Also, please donate using the information given on the screen.

What will donations go to support?

Vicki: The Ballet Ball supports Nashville Ballet’s community engagements, which, each year, break down barriers to the arts by bringing free performances and programs to public libraries, schools and pre-kindergarten centers throughout Middle Tennessee. Support of Nashville Ballet and Ballet Ball keeps that mission alive. 

What’s your favorite thing about the Nashville Ballet?

Sylvia: The beauty of the dancers and the incredible costumes touch me on a level that is difficult to express in words. Theater is pure magic, and ballet is the most beautiful form.

Vicki: The beauty is my first response. The art and exquisite interpretation of the music is awe-inspiring. I love to see the dancers and their unique abilities.

To find out how you can watch Nashville’s Nutcracker or learn more, visit nashvilleballet.com.