Arts for the Schools | The best holiday gift for your family |

Arts for the Schools | The best holiday gift for your family

Courtesy www.pioneercenter.comA.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents "The Nutcracker," choreography by Alexander Van Alstyne, artistic director, featuring the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Laura Jackson at the Pioneer Center in Reno, Nev.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Sometimes the best gifts of all donandamp;#8217;t come wrapped in shiny packages with bright bows. In fact they donandamp;#8217;t have to be any andamp;#8220;thing.andamp;#8221; Sometimes the best gifts of all come from a great experience that can last a lifetime. I am talking about, of course, theater, dance, music, art andamp;#8212; live performances and experiences that capture the holiday spirit. This week I would like to encourage every parent to take your children, (from the very young to teenagers), to one or more of the following events. If you have a resistant teen, tell them their gift to you this season can be attending a live performance with you. That is what I did last Motherandamp;#8217;s Day. My teenage son pulled his pants up, wore a belt, put on a collared shirt and accompanied me to a local production of andamp;#8220;Beauty and the Beast,andamp;#8221; andamp;#8212; best Motherandamp;#8217;s Day gift ever! We both had a great time, so much so we are attending two live performances over the holidays and heandamp;#8217;s as excited about it as I am.If your youngster is not sure about committing to a live performance, combine attending a visit to the museum or a live performance as part of apres-holiday shopping. Perhaps the agreement could be something along the lines of andamp;#8220;OK, Cindy Lou Hoo, we can go shopping from 10 a.m.andamp;#8211; 3 p.m. and then we will go to the museum or see the Nutcracker!andamp;#8221; Or give your child the chance to choose which live performance they would like to see. That way everyone gets to do a little bit of what they have ants in their pants about. It is really important during the hectic season to spend some time together, and not just at the mall. When you visit a museum or see a live performance you and your children become part of a world completely andamp;#8220;in the moment.andamp;#8221; It is an opportunity to andamp;#8220;be presentandamp;#8221; instead of simply shopping andamp;#8220;for presents.andamp;#8221; Here are some suggestions for events Friday through Sunday. There is something for everyone!Grades 5 and up: Mark Twain andamp;#8212; Roughing It Part One, Mark Twain Cultural Center, Incline Village, Nev., Friday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m.Bring your family for a visit with the Ghost of Twain at the Mark Twain Cultural Center as he shares tales of andamp;#8220;Roughing It Part One,andamp;#8221; Boyhood adventures, River, Marion Rangers, Overland, Virginia City and Lake Tahoe. Arrive at 6:30 p.m. for special guest and noted author Michael Makley to briefly discuss his latest sensation, andamp;#8220;A Short History of Lake Tahoe.andamp;#8221; This is a presentation partnership with Arts For the Schools with special ticket rates of $15 per adult and $5 for children, military and adults 65 and over. Come enjoy a great performance with one of the most entertaining authors youandamp;#8217;ll ever meet. This venue is delightful and feels a bit like visiting Twain in his own living room. You are even able to bring your own indoor picnic, I love this place! For more information visit or call 775-831-2820.All Ages: Free Saturdays at the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nev., Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Every Second Saturday at the Nevada Museum of Art is free.Family and friends can enjoy a day at the Museum for free on the second Saturday of each month. In December visitors can enjoy the Museumandamp;#8217;s signature photography collection, The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment. Make an afternoon of it and stop by Caf Muse for lunch (They have one of the best Caesar salads and soups Iandamp;#8217;ve ever tasted). For more information contact 775-329-3333. All Ages: andamp;#8220;Annie andamp;#8212; The Classic Play,andamp;#8221; Grand Sierra Resort andamp; Casino, Reno, Nev., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. (Grand Theatre). Tahoe Players presents the timeless Broadway musical favorite, andamp;#8220;Annie.andamp;#8221; The cast consists of more than 100 regional actors, singers, dancers and musicians. For more information visit Ages: A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents andamp;#8220;The Nutcracker,andamp;#8221; Dec. 9-11. The stage at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts will be alive with a sugar plum fairy and dancing mice as A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents its 16th annual Nutcracker Ballet on Dec. 9-11. A.V.A. Ballet Theatreandamp;#8217;s artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne has choreographed an exciting rendition of the popular holiday ballet and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Tchaikovskyandamp;#8217;s moving score. This will be conductor Laura Jacksonandamp;#8217;s encore Nutcracker.Nutcracker performances will be held Friday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m., Dec. 10, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, 2 p.m. at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Reno, Nev. Ticket prices for adults are from $26 to $51. Ticket prices for children 12 and under and seniors 65 and older are from $21 to $41. A special Sugar Plum party will be held after the Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances where children can meet the Nutcracker characters. For more information visit http://www.pioneercenter.comYes, this time of year is busy, (Iandamp;#8217;ve not done any decorating or shopping or anything yet myself) but I am seeing two great shows with my son and I am more excited about this than anything else, including gifts. I know weandamp;#8217;ll have a great time and the memory will last us forever. If you can find time to attend any of these with your kids, or something else during the season; I promise you wonandamp;#8217;t regret it. If you would like to support visual and performing art education in the Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe and Truckee region, consider purchasing a 2012 season pass to Arts For the Schools OnStage performances. It is an affordable way to enjoy at least six live performances throughout the year. For more information visit Holidays to you and yours and hope to see you at a show this weekend!

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