Cold rain shortens ‘Peanutcracker’ even more |

Cold rain shortens ‘Peanutcracker’ even more

Karl Horeis

Ballet dancers performed a shortened version of “The Nutcracker” – called “The Peanutcracker” – on the legislative lawn Saturday as part of the Christmas in the Capital program. They were forced to shorten their version even more when a cold rain began to fall.

Snow Princesses Ananda Bena-Webers and Nikki Coombs tip-toed their way onto the stage in front of bundled, smiling families. Their arms swung in graceful arcs as the first drops came down. Katey Paul, Brittany Sly and Danielle Williams, doing the Spanish dance with bare shoulders, kept smiling despite the icy rain drops.

“I feel bad for the dancers because of the rain,” said Peggy Wilkinson in the crowd. “They’re being very brave.”

The director of the show, Sierra Nevada Ballet Artistic Director Rosine Bena, felt the crowd was brave, too.

As the rain intensified she told her dancers to go straight to the finale. The crowd stayed through the end, then offered a standing ovation.

“I’m feeling good because the crowd was really great,” Bena said. “They sat out here in the rain. But I’m feeling sad because we didn’t get to do the whole show.”

The sugar plum variation and the waltz of the flowers – which both featured professional dancers – were cut out because of the weather. Dancers like Eric Larson, who performed the role of the Nutcracker, had to forgo some of their most spectacular moves. Several slipped and fell on the wet stage.

There were also problems with the electricity. Power went out after the sound system, space heaters, coffee makers and Christmas trees were plugged into the same outlets. A generator was used to provide Tchaikovsky’s famous score.

“The voltage on that generator was just going up and down, up and down,” said sound man Jud Price. “I had to ride the fader the whole time.”

Folks stayed positive despite the setbacks.

“It’s the Christmas spirit,” said Laura Fernandez, who came with her kids Christopher, 10, and Emily, 7, and friends. “I think it’s just wonderful that they did this and I think they should do this every year.”

That’s the plan.

Sierra Nevada Ballet has already been invited to perform again next year – though they may opt to go inside. Bena created “The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutshell,” a 45-minute version of “The Nutcracker,” especially for children.

“Assemblyman Ron Knecht said he would make sure we had a building to perform in as back up just in case it looks like it’s going to rain,” Bena said.

As she spoke, a chorus began singing carols from the porch of the Nevada State Supreme Court.

It was Judy Munson’s Carson City Chamber Singers, organized, like “The Peanutcracker,” by the Christmas in the Capital committee.

Deborah Wiggins of the committee was enjoying the singing with city Supervisor Robin Williamson. She said the first-ever event had gone well and should be bigger next year.

Contact Karl Horeis at or 881-1219.