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Nashville Nutcracker: The Time-Honored Tradition is Back!

Article by Ashley Hutcheson

Photography by Karyn Kipley Photography

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

This year’s Nashville Nutcracker will be the first live, in-theater performance since February of 2020. October 8 was originally the return of the Nashville Ballet to Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), but a mechanical malfunction occurred and caused substantial damage and a delay. To say the dancers
are excited to get back on stage is an understatement!

It’s not every day you get the inside scoop on one of the most beloved of Christmas traditions, The Nashville Nutcracker, from an actual ballerina, but Imani Sailers was happy to oblige.

Franklin Lifestyle (FL): What do you remember best about performing at Ascend last spring?
Imani Sailers (IS): The feel of air on your skin. It was very exciting being in an outdoor element where beyond the music and audience there were all the sights and sounds of downtown Nashville. A firetruck drove by with sirens, and that's a curveball you don’t have in a theater.

FL: You’ve danced The Nashville Nutcracker before. What is some of the holiday fun that is carried out behind the scenes?
IS: The dancers have Secret Santas.

FL: What is the best seat in the house at TPAC?
IS: (Laughs) All of them! We are super excited to fill up the house. The closer you sit to the stage and the pit the more immersive it can be. You can see facial expressions. The further and higher back, my personal preference, you get to see the formations. For example, in Nashville’s Nutcracker in the snow
scenes, we move as snowflakes, and those movements you can see completely from a bit farther away.

FL: What’s next after Nashville’s Nutcracker?
IS: We will be doing Attitude at Nashville Ballet. It's very close up and intimate and you can see every bead of sweat. Post-performance there will be a reception for the audience to interact with the artists, creators and dancers.


Imani Sailers has been with the Nashville Ballet organization since 2017. She has grown in the company and was promoted to company dance in 2019. She is now in her fifth season of dancing here in Nashville.


Sailers attended Indiana University in Bloomington where she earned her degree at Jacobs School of Music.


One of her favorite things about Nashville Ballet is the culture. The dancers are unranked and have a freedom to express themselves in all roles.


The best advice she ever received was from her mom: “to be myself because I’m the only one who can.”