Classic ballet condensed to a nutshell for younger audience | NevadaAppeal.com

Classic ballet condensed to a nutshell for younger audience

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal E. Cort Larson, 17, rehearses his part of the Russian Prince for "The Peanutcracker - The Story in a Nutshell" at the Western Nevada Performing Arts Center on Saturday. The performance will be Monday evening at the Carson City Community Center.

Rosine Bena has spent her life working and teaching dance, first as a professional ballerina herself and then as a teacher. She knows the importance of a child’s introduction to ballet and that many times, that introduction comes in the form of Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Ballet.

“I was a professional ballerina and performed ‘The Nutcracker’ many times. Parents take their kids but the kids don’t really understand what is going on,” said Bena.

So Bena went about finding a way to preserve a child’s introduction to ballet while promoting a higher understanding of the performance. It came in the form of “The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutshell.”

“We did a 45-minute version that, what is happening on stage, is narrated so it’s perfect for young children,” said Bena. “It’s designed for children in elementary school and up.”

“The Peanutcracker” features performers from the Sierra Nevada Ballet in addition to dance students from area schools. There are over 50 roles in the production, and takes about three months to practice and prepare.

“Because we include children, we only rehearse on Saturdays, so it takes longer to prepare the performance,” said Bena.

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“The Peanutcracker” will be performed at 7 p.m. Monday at the Carson City Community Center. “The Peanutcracker” is presented by Sierra Nevada Ballet in conjunction with the Brewery Arts Center and Carson City Redevelopment.

For Bena, allowing children to get involved with dance is part of what makes her job wonderful.

“It’s very important to involve children in the arts at a young age. I was the daughter of two dancers and ballet changed my life,” said Bena. “I’ve done a lot of work with children who don’t speak English and one of the interesting things is these children are spellbound when they see it. It just shows that music and movement are universal.”

In addition to the public presentation, the adapted ballet will also be performed at several schools, to allow more children the opportunity to experience the more child-friendly form of the classic.

Tickets for the show are available at the Brewery Arts Center box office for $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12 and seniors over age 65.

— Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

If you go

What: “The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutshell,” presented by the Sierra Nevada Ballet in conjunction with the Brewery Arts Center and Carson City Redevelopment.

When: 7 p.m. Monday.

Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. Williams St.

Tickets: $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12 and seniors over 65.

Call: (775) 883-1976 for more information.