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Sleeping Beauty takes center state

Paul Raymore, Sierra Sun

In a welcome break from the traditional holiday season performance of “The Nutcracker,” the Sierra Nevada Dance studio instead decided to stage a production of “Sleeping Beauty – A Fairy Tale Ballet” this winter.

“I actually decided to do Sleeping Beauty because I wanted to do something different and I thought the community wanted to see something different,” said Sherrie Peterson, lead choreographer and owner of Sierra Nevada Dance. “Even though the Nutcracker is a tradition, so many people around here do the Nutcracker… so I thought it would be a nice change. Especially for the older kids, because they’ve done it (the Nutcracker) for the last nine years or so.”

The break from tradition was a welcome thing for North Tahoe High School sophomore Amy Miescke, the lead lilac fairy in this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty:

“I love that it’s something different, because we’ve done the Nutcracker for so long. I’ve done something like eight Nutcrackers, and we pretty much exhausted that. So it’s been a really nice break this season to do Sleeping Beauty.”

Miescke joins a cast of 78 other dancers, most of them students at Sierra Nevada Dance, who all live in either Truckee, Tahoe City, Incline Village or the West Shore.

Coordinating such a large group has been a challenge for Peterson, who currently has less than a week to make sure everything comes together in time for opening night on November 19.

“Because it’s all new choreography and original choreography, it was really hard. And I didn’t have the help that I had last year with the Nutcracker, it’s just been myself,” Peterson said, adding, “But I did hire two Truckee High School kids – Lesley Lighthiser and Jenny VanBlarigan – to help with some of the choreography, which has been a godsend.”

Despite the difficulties, Peterson feels that the caliber of the dancing has gone up this year, especially among the older dancers who will perform solo parts in this production.

One of those lead dancers, Truckee High School student Rhianna Knope, is a little nervous about whether they’ll be able to pull everything together in time. “It’s going to take a lot of going over and over again,” Knope said about the final rehearsals before opening night.

Knope, who portrays Sleeping Beauty in the production, is also happy to be doing something other than the Nutcracker.

“My favorite thing about this dance is the fun – overall it’s fun. I am very excited, but it’s kind of scary as well… It’s nerve wracking, with the spotlight and everything.”

Even with less than a week to go though, everyone involved agrees that they’d be ready for the show to begin.

“We’re a little behind schedule, but we always feel like we aren’t ready before a performance, and somehow we pull it together,” said Miescke. “I hope the next couple of days go smoothly. I know we’re going to be learning a lot, but I know that by the time the show comes we’ll be fine.”

Sierra Nevada Dance will give a total of four performances of Sleeping Beauty; three that are open to the public and one Friday morning performance especially for local students. The three public performances will take place November 19, 20 and 21 in the Cal-Neva Frank Sinatra Celebrity Showroom in Crystal Bay, Nevada. Each show will begin at 7 p.m.

Ticket are $18 for preferred seating, $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, and can be purchased at various locations in Truckee, Tahoe City, Kings Beach and Incline Village. Please call the Sierra Nevada Dance Studio at (530) 582-0948 for more information about ticket outlets or to purchase tickets by credit card.


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