Dancer builds centerpiece prop |

Dancer builds centerpiece prop

Jim Grant / Nevada AppealRyan Walker is constructing a 14-foot Christmas tree for his Eagle Scout project. The tree will be used in the Sierra Nevada Ballet’s performance of “The Peanutcracker.”

Between classes and rehearsals, Ryan Walker, 14, estimates he spends more than 20 hours a week dancing ballet.For the second year in a row he has been cast as the Nutcracker in Sierra Nevada Ballet’s production of “Peanutcracker: The Story in a Nutshell.” But his dedication to the art extends beyond the stage. In pursuit of his Eagle Scout rank, Walker is rebuilding the set for the performance. “They’ve been talking about it for a few years,” he said. “I figured this would be a good way to help benefit everybody.”Walker is focusing on the Christmas tree, which serves as the backdrop for 45-minute narrated version of the classical ballet. As the story progresses, the tree grows. However, the tree that the company uses now has become tattered and worn. “This one’s 15 or 20 years old,” Walker said. “It needs an upgrade.”Working with friends, family and other scouts, Walker fashioned a 14-by-9-foot tree made of garland on a canvas.“It’s a lighter, more durable canvas,” he said. He’ll also be remaking the stand to allow it to work better with the capabilities of today’s theater.The lights on the new tree will now be the more energy-efficient LED bulbs.Sierra Nevada Ballet performs the condensed version of “The Nutcracker” to give children their first introduction to classical ballet.Walker said the audience can expect a good show this year, along with an updated set.“The production will be good,” he said. “The people are really good this year.”Walker will be earning his Eagle Scout rank through the Lone Scout program, a part of Boy Scouts of America, designed for young men who want to participate but cannot for whatever reason. Walker’s schedule does not permit time for a traditional pack.In addition to Boy Scouts, he is an apprentice for Sierra Nevada Ballet. Although home schooled, he also takes one class at Carson High School, three classes at Western Nevada College, and two classes at Impact Home School Co-op.He hopes to earn his Eagle Scout rank by December and graduate from high school at 16. Then, Walker said, he plans to move to New York City to pursue a career as a ballet dancer.If you goWHAT: “Peanutcracker: The Story in a Nutshell”WHEN: 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 1WHERE: Bob Boldrick Theater at Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.TICKETS: Prices start a $6 for youth and $11 for adults. Tickets can be reserved by calling Gina Nelson at 775-220-4452. Discounted tickets are also available.The “Nutcracker Ballet”The traditional “Nutcracker Ballet” will be presented by the Pinkerton Ballet Theatre 7 p.m. Nov. 23-24 and 2 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.Special appearances as Mother Gigogne will be made by Mayor Bob Crowell, Assessor Dave Dawley and Sheriff Ken Furlong.General admission is $22 and $18 for seniors and students. Discounted packages are also available. For tickets or more information, go to or call (775) 297-9007.