Nutcracker has huge contingent | SierraSun.com

Nutcracker has huge contingent

Katherine Morris

Photo by Colin FisherDress reheaersals began this week for 'The Nutcracker.'

Sugar plum fairies, toy-like soldiers and dancing snowflakes are headed for Truckee, as the annual production of the “Nutcracker Ballet” takes center stage starting Dec. 15.

This year, more than 143 local dancers – girls and boys, men and women, ages 3 through 60 – are performing in an elaborate production of this holiday classic.

The crew, which first auditioned for their roles back in Sept., has devoted weekends as well as weekdays for the last couple months, rehearsing the colorful choreography for this roughly two-hour performance.

“We’ve got new costumes and sets this year, and are welcoming back Steve Coniglio, who did a wonderful job as Dr. Drosserlmeyer last year,” said the ballet’s artistic director Sheri Peterson, owner of Sierra Nevada Dance. “We’ve also got people from all over – Truckee, Kings Beach and Tahoe City – participating this year. It’s a real community event.”

The ballet, which is being performed both in Truckee at the high school auditorium and at The Cal Neva in Crystal Bay, will also perform ballet excerpts at several local elementary schools this week.

“The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the book called “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” written by E.T.A. Hoffman.

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“It’s a funny, happy production, the whole family will enjoy,” Peterson said.

Through a variety of elegant songs and dances, the ballet chronicles the story of Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house – namely of a young girl Clara and her magical nutcracker doll.

This year’s performance is sponsored by Arts for the Schools and the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation.

In addition to the regular performances, there will also be a special fund-raiser show for the new dance theater company and performing arts non-profit, InnerRhythms.

InnerRhythms is working towards becoming a premiere dance theater company for regional dancers who want to take their skills to a professional level, as well as raising funds for and awareness of local performing arts programs.

On Monday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m., a special performance will feature the second half of “The Nutcracker Ballet,” as well as a short excerpt of the Inner Rhythms’ inaugural performance scheduled for April.

“We’re asking for a $10 minimum donation that night, which is tax deductible, however, people can give more if they would like,” Peterson said.

Although the ballet has become somewhat of a tradition in the area, having been performed for the last six or so years, Peterson said in the future, it will be done every other year, to allow opportunities for alternative ballets and InnerRhythms productions.

“We’re really looking forward to working with InnerRhythms to collaborate on performances and make our performing arts programs and productions bigger and better,” Peterson said.

Aside from the ballet’s sponsors, Peterson said she also wanted to thank Chris Norris and Polly Ryan for their exceptional volunteer work in helping obtain both grant money and new equipment.

“This is also the first year that our lead dancers are receiving a stipend for the hours they’ve put in,” she added.

Assistance with coaching dancers was also aided this year by Mr. Bruce King for the “Pas De Deus” number.

“I’d encourage everyone to come out, especially for our benefit show, to help out Inner Rhythms,” Peterson added.

“The Nutcracker Ballet” will be performed in Truckee on Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Tahoe Truckee High School. On Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., a benefit showing will be held at the TTHS auditorium for Inner Rhythms. The show will also be performed on Friday, Dec. 20, and Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Cal Eva Resort in Crystal Bay. Tickets are $15 reserved for adults and $10 for seniors and students. For more information, call 582-0948.