Hundreds tour Truckee’s first dancing-themed haunted house |

Hundreds tour Truckee’s first dancing-themed haunted house

Special to the Sun
Asylum dancers, from left: Alyssa Bousquet, Lucia Pellegrino, Jade Schram, Devin Wilson and Avery Moore at Truckee Dance Factory’s Fright Factory.
Courtesy Kristie Pellegrino |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Halloween events this year in Truckee stepped up in eerie fashion with the debut of the Fright Factory, Truckee’s first dancing-themed haunted house.

On Oct. 23-24, more than 600 people were led by their zombie host through the cavernous maze of frights. The tour, in groups of 25 guests at 15-minute intervals, featured four different dance scenes, including a deserted boardwalk with creepy clowns, a classic ballet class with a terrifying twist, a dark room with skeletons visible only by black light dancing in unison, and an insane asylum ward.

The Fright Factory was the result of a long-term vision of Truckee Dance Factory owners Padma and Ryan Curren.

“We wanted to bring both the artistic and theatrical side of dance to Truckee in a community forum. We are grateful for the dancers, volunteers and local organizations who helped make this happen,” said Curren. “There is no other event like this in the Tahoe Truckee basin and what a great fit with our amazing community.”

Along with the haunted building space, generously loaned by Clear Capital, the courtyard was full of festival games for children, Halloween themed music including flash mob performances to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” by the TDF hip-hop level 2 and above performers, and a professional ghoulish “selfie” photo booth provided by Kristie Pellegrino.

More than 80 performers participated, including TDF students and members of Inspire Dance Company, Quality Control hip-hop dancers, and the Floor Mechanics dance team.

The Fright Factory setting was a dark maze with scary surprises lurking in the corners and the wandering undead suddenly appearing behind frightened tour guests.

The look and flow of the tour was Ryan Curren’s vision that Ben and Yona Trustman brought to life with their artistry and construction, along with more than 25 volunteers who helped create and take down the set.

The dances were to upbeat, contemporary music and highlighted the TDF dancers’ jazz, acro yoga, ballet, hip hop, breaking and modern dance training.

The skeletons danced in black light with disembodied skulls above their bodies to “Get Up,” by Redman, and the insane asylum inmates leapt and turned frenetically to “Breathe,” by The Prodigy.

The ballet scene was behind glass and narrated, drawing on skills that are honed in TDF’s acting classes.

Stephanie McCullin, TDF’s Theatrical Director exclaimed, “This was an incredible event for this community! It was scary but not gory. I think it brought the community together from an arts perspective and everyone enjoyed themselves — performers and the community alike.”

TDF plans for the Fright Factory to be an annual Halloween event.

“We are already writing down ideas for next year’s event and are excited to meet the challenge of raising the bar even higher,” said Padma Curren. “It was truly a collaboration and labor of love from so many contributors, including Jennie Bousquet, who created amazing costumes, Beth Hirsh who took the lead organizing and promoting the Fright Factory, and all of our volunteers and our great community partners, especially Clear Capital and Rubicon Pizza.”

This article was submitted on behalf of the Truckee Dance Factory, which opened its doors in the Pioneer Center in September 2015. TDF promotes strong self-confidence, self-respect, discipline and commitment. They encourage each dancer to find their own creativity and vision in order to excel in their art. Visit to learn more.

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