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Ballet Meets the Bristol Sessions and Beyond

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Unbroken Circle—Bristol’s Music in MotionBristol, VA/TN -- Bristol Ballet, in cooperation with the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), presents Unbroken Circle—Bristol’s Music in Motion at the Paramount Center for the Arts on April 11 at 7:30 p.m. and April 12 at 2:30 p.m. Unbroken Circle—Bristol’s Music in Motion challenges the imagination through the lyrical poetry of our region’s music and the ethereal beauty of classical dance. The imaginative combination of ballet with the music of the Bristol Sessions, and beyond, honors Bristol’s music legacy with innovation and originality by marrying two forms of creative expression in an unexpected way.

The visionary behind the project, Bristol Ballet’s Artistic Director Michele Plescia, cleverly inflects the show with imaginative details and nuance. Dancers from Bristol Ballet’s Senior and Apprentice Companies will perform Plescia’s original choreography. “I wanted the program to be reflective of the history involved,” said Plescia. “For example, knowing that the Bristol Sessions took place in an old hat factory, part of the costumes will include 1920s style hats.

Thomas Richardson has been exceptionally helpful in guiding us to make sure that our production truly reflects the music behind the history.” Richardson is curator of education and outreach for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and served as an advisor on the project. BCM was helpful in providing program notes about the songs being used and provided education to the dancers about Bristol’s music legacy. “Being part of such an inventive interpretation of our region’s music is of particular interest to BCM,” said Richardson. “The museum demonstrates a very modern way of telling Bristol’s story. Bristol Ballet’s Unbroken Circle is a really interesting concept and we were thrilled to be involved.”

Ballet Meets the Bristol Sessions and Beyond
Unbroken Circle—Bristol’s Music in Motion Coming to the Paramount

Both recorded and live music selections have been chosen for the performances including “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” “Pretty Polly,” “Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow Tree,” and “The Longest Train I Ever Saw.” There will be a dance to “Sixteen Tons” and a worship section featuring a medley of “Moonlight Sonata/Amazing Grace/Bound For The Promised Land” and “Down To The River to Pray.”

The Empty Bottle String Band, composed of former and current members of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music studies, will perform a variety of music including “Coat Of Many Colors” and the finale, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”

“Our goal at Bristol Ballet is to broaden the horizons of balletomanes and country music fans,” said Plescia. “We would love to see both of these audiences come together for this production and develop an appreciation for each art form.”

Unbroken Circle—Bristol’s Music in Motion is sponsored in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Tickets to the performances are $6 for children, $10 for students and seniors, and $15 for adults. Tickets may be purchased at The Paramount Center for the Arts box office or online at Call 423-274-8920 to purchase by phone. For more information about other Bristol Ballet programming, visit For more information about Birthplace of Country Music, visit

Founded in 1948, Bristol Ballet is the oldest and most prestigious ballet company in the Tri-Cities region. Focused on educating young people in the classical art of ballet through exceptional ballet training for and productions for the public, Bristol Ballet has served tens of thousands of young dancers and audience members throughout the organization’s distinguished history.

The vision of the Birthplace of Country Music is to promote and celebrate Bristol, VA/TN as the birthplace of country music. The mission of the BCM is to enhance Bristol’s role in the birth and development of country music through the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, educational outreach and programming.

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