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Big Ears brings special performance of Nashville Ballet to Knoxville

December 4, 2018

Due to an overwhelming response, the Big Ears Festival will offer a special opportunity to experience the Nashville Ballet’s performance of “Lucy Negro Redux” with Rhiannon Giddens on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at the Tennessee Theatre. Tickets for the special show go on sale this Friday, Dec. 7.

Featured Nashville Ballet dancer Kayla Rowser

The special performance will be available to the public and will not require a Big Ears Festival pass. Those who purchase Big Ears weekend passes or Thursday daily passes will already have access to the March 21, 2019, performance of “Lucy Negro Redux.” The two performances in Knoxville will be the first opportunity to experience the ballet after its world premiere in Nashville at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in February.

“The Big Ears Festival’s vision continues to evolve and expand, and we’re thrilled to have the Nashville Ballet bring the first major dance performances to the festival,” Big Ears Festival Founder Ashley Capps said. “This is a powerful, unique, visionary collaboration, and we have chosen to add this performance on Wednesday – the night before the Big Ears Festival officially opens – to give as many people as possible the opportunity to experience this extraordinary work. It’s not to be missed.”

A mesmerizing fusion of music, dance and spoken word poetry, “Lucy Negro Redux” explores the mysterious love life of William Shakespeare through the imagined perspective of the illustrious “Dark Lady,” for whom many of Shakespeare’s famed sonnets were written.

This contemporary ballet is set to an original score written and performed by Giddens, a Grammy award-winning artist and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, along with her collaborator, Francesco Turrisi, a Dublin, Ireland-based frame drummer and multi-instrumentalist.

Based on the book by Tennessee poet Caroline Randall Williams, “Lucy Negro Redux” explores themes of love, otherness, equality and beauty as the narrator embarks on a journey to discover her own power and worth.

Kayla Rowser will be the featured dancer from the Nashville Ballet, rounding out a powerhouse cast of diverse artists exploring connections through music, literature and dance.

This performance explores mature themes and may not be suitable for young audiences.

The Big Ears Festival will be held March 21-24, 2019, at venues in downtown Knoxville.

About The Big Ears Festival
The mission of the Big Ears Festival, a 501(c)(3), is to create, nurture, and support artistic expression and cultural education that transcends traditional boundaries, strengthens and builds relationships, and connects across communities through genre-defying music, film and arts programming, and interactive experiences.

Described as “one of the most quietly earth-shattering, subtly luminous festivals the world over” by the Oxford American, Big Ears Festival has established itself as one of the most exciting and imaginative cultural gatherings in the world, bringing together a virtual who’s who of established and acclaimed iconoclasts, innovators and influencers with younger artists who are synthesizing their own experiences in-to fresh, new creative work. Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville – and taking place in its world-class historic theaters, excellent clubs, and unique alternative performance spaces – all within easy walking distance of one another and intermingled with superb restaurants, bars, and shops – Big Ears offers an unparalleled experience for adventurous artists and audiences alike. While primarily focused on music, Big Ears is also developing a strong independent/experimental film component while also presenting installations, exhibitions and interactive experiences.

Big Ears is created and produced by AC Entertainment, recognized as one of the foremost independent promoters in the United States. Founded in 1991 by Ashley Capps, the company books, markets and presents over 1,000 events per year. In addition to Big Ears, AC Entertainment is the force behind internationally renowned events including Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival®, Forecastle Festival, and many more.  For more information on AC Entertainment, visit

The 2019 Big Ears Festival is made possible by the generous support of The Aslan Foundation, Pilot Flying J, Ann & Steve Bailey, Visit Knoxville, Tennessee Department of Tourism, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, Hobson Wood Foundation, Red Bull Music Academy, Boyd’s Jig & Reel, National Endowment for the Arts, The Shifting Foundation, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, South Arts and Tennessee Arts Commission.

About the Nashville Ballet
The Nashville Ballet’s mission is to create, perform, teach and promote dance as an essential and inspiring element of the community. Since its founding in 1986, Nashville Ballet has grown to become the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee, presenting a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director Paul Vasterling.