Artistic Director: Christopher Mohnani
Mr. Mohnani is originally from Makati City in the Philippines. He is a proud founding member of Ballet Manila and up until his retirement in 2009 for almost 10 seasons, the top male Principal Danseur at Nashville Ballet in Tennessee, USA.
During the course of his career, he has had the privilege of dancing a wide variety of roles, most notable of which are Romeo in the world premiere of Nashville Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet, Snow King in their World Premiere of The Nutcracker, Conrad in the Asian premiere of Le Corsaire, Dracula in the Asian premiere of Dracula, Prince Desire in the Tennessee premiere of a full-length The Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht in the full-length Giselle and Young Warrior and Faun in the Nashville premieres of The Rite of Spring and Afternoon of a Faun. Other roles include the Waltz Boy in Serenade, Phlegmatic in Four Temperaments and The Lead Boy in Square Dance – all three being George Balanchine ballets revived in their full form.
In 2004, he founded the Asian American Performing Arts Society (AAPAS), a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that promotes and celebrates the beauty and diversity of Asian Performing arts and artists. With AAPAS, he presented and directed two International US Tours of Asia’s most prolific ballet company, Ballet Manila, twice appearing in Nashville with critical and commercial success. He also presented the Tennessee premiere of International Japanese jazz pianist sensation Hiromi, and the Tennessee premiere of Oscar & Cannes Film Festival winning documentary, Imelda.
In 2007, Mohnani was the sole recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship Award for Dance given by the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Arts Commission. This was the first time the award was offered to only one individual exemplifying the best performing arts contribution in the state. In 2009, he received the Sono Osato Fellowship Award offered by Career Transition for Dancers. This is the highest award given to a single professional dancer in the United States.
Upon his retirement in 2009, he transitioned AAPAS to be Dance Theatre of Tennessee (DTT), one of only two professional dance organizations in Middle Tennessee. Applying the same foundation he learned from Ballet Manila and its leaders, DTT carried the mission of "ballet for the people." With DTT, Mohnani lead several programs that help further its mission and help shift the performing arts community in the region. Among the highlights of DTT's young existence is the launch of the "Ugly Duckling Anti-Bullying Program" where they help educate the youth community about the dangers of bullying through the medium of dance. The launch of the region's only touring full production of "The Nutcracker" traveling to 6 cities in 4 weeks. Most recently, the launch of Nashville's first "Ballet in the Park" performance series where it was named Best Dance Series the week after its launch.
For Dance Theatre of Tennessee, Mohnani choreographed and staged several ballets including Eric Cruz's "Carmen", "Swan Lake Act 2", full-length ballets "Nutcracker" and "Coppelia", "Chopiniana (Les Sylphides)", "Paquita", and several divertissements including "Raymonda Pas De Six" and "Esmeralda Pas De Six". The George Balanchine Trust and Foundation granted DTT the opportunity to perform "Valse Fantasie" and "Who Cares?". Other choreographers whose works have been staged and performed include Ballet Manila's Osias Barroso (Ecole De Ballet), Atlanta Ballet's Tom Pazik (Tzigane and Cinderella), Ballet Memphis’ Hazel Sabas-Gower (Green), Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Ron De Jesus (Fado De Amour), National Ballet of China's Ma Cong (Passion, There), Ballet Philippines' Alden Lugnasin (Swimming), Alvin Ailey's Darrell Moultrie (Points of Interests).
As an Artistic Director, he has led Dance Theatre of Tennessee in just 3 years to become one of the Top 10 Performing Arts Organization in Middle Tennessee based on performance quality, community support, audience reach and overall business acumen. DTT was recently ranked first by a competitive, citizen reviewed process through the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. Dance Theatre of Tennessee in its young history also receives grant awards and funding from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Bridgestone Firestone Trust, Memorial Foundation, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Tennsco, Boeing, Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Frist Foundation among others. Dance Theatre of Tennessee is a proud and active affiliate of the Center for Non-profit Management and Hands On Nashville. As Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s leader, Mohnani together with DTT has been nominated for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts Award presented by the GLBT Chamber of Commerce. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce has also named him as one of 5 Emerging Leaders Award in the field of Arts and Entertainment for 2012 and 2013. Most recently, he was named one of “40 Under Forty” for 2013 by the Nashville Business Journal and the 2013 Winner of the Nashville Emerging Leaders Award for Arts, Entertainment and Music Business by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of the Donelson-Hermitage Leadership Class of 2013 and one of the founding members of the Donelson-Hermitage Non-Profit Round Table. He is on the steering committee of the Nashville Arts Coalition and is an active member of the Tennessean for the Arts.