NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Ballet was set to return to the stage, but hours before opening, extensive water damage at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center has canceled this weekend's performances of "Peter Pan."
Early Friday morning, a mechanical failure with the fire suppression system caused significant water damage to the Andrew Jackson Hall stage. The Nashville Ballet's sets and production equipment were also damaged.
The performances would have marked the Nashville Ballet's big return to TPAC after more than a year and a half. While the ballet performed at Ascend Amphitheater in May, this would have been the ballet's first indoor performance in front of a live audience since the pandemic began.
"It just kind of feels like one more stab in the heart," said Mollie Sansone, who was set to play Wendy in "Peter Pan." "But, at the same time, I think Nashville Ballet is such a community that has been together and sticking together for so long, that I feel like nothing can get us. Nothing."
The company has been rehearsing for the show since Aug. 30, and countless hours have also been poured into hand-painted sets and custom-made costumes. Performances were set for Oct. 8, 9 and 10.
"The support of our patrons has been invaluable over the past year and a half, and that support has enabled us to adapt to so many circumstances outside of our control,” said Artistic Director Paul Vasterling. “I know I speak for all of our dancers, faculty, and staff when I say we are heartsick over this decision. Just a few short hours ago, we were eagerly looking forward to performing for audiences again. But if there is anything we have learned during the pandemic, it’s that working through challenges such as these always create room for new opportunities and growth, and we are confident that this situation will be no exception."
The Nashville Ballet is working to evaluate the extent of the damage and whether they will be able to reschedule the performances. Staff members are also contacting ticket holders and will keep them updated as information becomes available.
The Nashville Ballet did record the final rehearsal of "Peter Pan" and plans to stream the video online in the near future.
For updates on rescheduling "Peter Pan" and for information on future performances by the Nashville Ballet click here.