Nashville Ballet and League of Women Voters Present “72 Steps”

Press Release # State
Nashville Ballet 6 women in yellow and white dresses posing on stage
Photo credit: Karyn Kipley Photography

NASHVILLE, TN – Inspired by Tennessee’s vital role in the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Nashville Ballet will share a digital presentation of Gina Patterson’s “72 Steps” on Tuesday, Aug. 18 - the date the Tennessee legislature ratified the bill granting women the right to vote 100 years earlier.

Made available for streaming for free through the generous sponsor support of the League of Women Voters of Nashville, access is granted to watch the performance by signing up at https://bit.ly/72StepsRSVP.

Originally commissioned by the League of Women Voters of Nashville and their Perfect 36 Supporters in 2018, “72 Steps” explores themes of basic human rights, civic responsibility and the ongoing battle for a more equitable society through the lens of the suffrage movement.

Nashville Ballet’s second company, NB2, will transport classrooms and audiences to the early 1900s as the fight for women’s rights is heating up. Inspired by history, Patterson’s work is a contemporary retelling of the slow flame of the suffrage movement as friends and families grapple with the terms of one of the most divisive issues of the time building to a fiery denouement in the days surrounding the Tennessee legislature’s history making vote and the famed letter said to have persuaded young House Representative Harry Burn to support the proposed amendment.

Depicting a fight that began with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 and spanned over 72 years, Patterson’s work draws parallels from the past to present in an effort to transcend time. During the creative process, Patterson called NB2 artists to reflect on the civic issues that concern them in modern society. They followed this by writing letters similar to that which Rep. Burn’s mother wrote convincing him to cast that momentous vote; Patterson used these letters and conversations to shape the ballet’s narrative.

A feminine tour de force, “72 Steps” celebrates Nashville’s female creatives. Local composer Jordan Hamlin wrote the galvanizing score that drives Patterson’s narrative and designer Jocelyn Melechinsky created the work’s striking costumes merging historical influence with allusions to the future.

In addition to this free digital performance, Nashville Ballet invites schools to book a digital showing of “72 Steps” for their classrooms or other groups as the ballet is complementary to state curriculum for middle school history classes.

Classroom bookings through Nashville Ballet’s Community Engagement department include a complimentary lesson plan and additional supplementary videos to guide classroom discussions and further inform students and other viewers about the work and creation process. For more information on booking opportunities, contact Nashville Ballet’s Community Engagement Manager Briona Richardson at brichardson@nashvilleballet.com.

Dr. Gwen Ford I Believe Ministries