InnerRythms dancers rock | SierraSun.com

InnerRythms dancers rock

Katherine Morris

Photo by Colin FisherThe dance theater offers local dancers a chance to hone their skills.

Kayla Peterson started dancing not long after she learned how to walk.

“I used to just make up my own moves around the house,” Peterson says as she adjusts the strap of her pastel ballet shoe. “Finally, my mom just enrolled me in dance classes, which I’ve been taking for about nine or 10 years now.”

Today, the Sierra Mountain Middle School student is taking her dancing to the next level, as a member of InnerRhythms, Truckee and North Tahoe’s first regional dance theatre company and newest performing arts non-profit.

“I really wanted to see what it would be like to be part of a real dance company,” she said. “So far, I love it.”

Peterson and the roughly 10 or so other young dancers in InnerRhythms theatre meet in the dance studios of Sierra Nevada Dance one evening a week for rehearsals. During the rest of the week, the dancers, who are selected for the company on an audition basis, are busy perfecting their pirouettes in the five weekly dance classes they are required to attend.

“The purpose of the company is really to serve as a venue or stepping stone for dancers who want to go professional and take their dancing to the next level,” said Elizabeth Archer, lifelong dancer, instructor and InnerRhythms Company Program Director.

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Archer said she first got the idea to start the company after seeing the need for an outlet to promote dance and the performing arts in the region.

“I also wanted to share the gift of dance with kids because it’s really a special way of life,” she said. “This is really a way for me to give back some of what I’ve gotten out of dancing and performing in my life. We’re trying to establish ourselves as the professional, regional dance company for the area and hoping to become the resident company for a future performing arts center.”

The InnerRhythms Dance Theatre is just one aspect of a larger performing arts non-profit that’s been gaining momentum over the last year.

According to the organization’s Executive Director Kimberly Pinkson, the main goal of InnerRhythms non-profit is to support, promote and raise awareness about the performing arts in the Truckee, North Tahoe region.

The group takes its name to pay tribute to the power of the performing arts to “help one find his or her own inner rhythm.”

“We’re really hoping to open doors to more creative outlets that this community has been lacking for a long time,” said Pinkson, who also has a rich history of dancing, youth outreach and performing under her belt.

“With InnerRhythms, we want to reach out to all of the performing arts going on in the community because there is still such a lack of awareness and funding for those types of activities. We really want to support and work together with all of the other performing arts groups in the area.”

Pinkson said InnerRhythms hopes to use music, dance and drama to bring everyone in the community together.

“We’d also like to offer scholarships for those who want to pursue the performing arts and support youth outreach programs,” said Pinkson, who has already been working on a dance program in Kings Beach.

“One little girl I taught hip-hop dance to even went back to Kings Beach and started her own dance troupe,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing. Those who know her have told me the real difference they’ve seen in her, as far as being more disciplined and confident.”

An increase in self-confidence, a greater sense of responsibility and an increased desire and ability to succeed in school are just a few of the things Pinkson cites as benefits for young people involved in the arts.

“Dance, as well as other arts, really teach people important life skills,” she said. “Being involved in programs like this really gives these young people a sense of professionalism and improves the overall quality of their lives. And, the arts stand to benefit not only the performers but the audience members as well.”

“The arts have this ability to take people outside of themselves – to let them go to someplace else for awhile,” Archer added.

Both said they hope as the dance theatre continues to expand and develop a name for itself, that the group will draw other members from around the region as well as beyond.

Currently, members of the dance company are hard at work preparing for InnerRhythms’ inaugural show, scheduled for April 5, 2003.

The group is also looking to hold smaller, less formal quarterly performances, as well as team up with other local music and theatre groups for shows.

“We’re also looking for additional dancers and will be hosting an audition on Tuesday, Nov. 19,” Archer said.

The group is also looking for more board members, as well as continued community support.

“Ultimately, the success of this group is going to depend on the support we receive from the community,” Pinkson said. “We won’t be able to do this without that support. But the great thing is that when people invest in the performing arts, they stand to get so much in return.”

InnerRhythms Dance Theatre will be holding auditions for new members on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 4:15 p.m. at Sierra Nevada Dance. For more information, call 582-8839.

For information on the InnerRhythms Performing Arts Organization, call 584-1210.