Holt Ballet Conservatory (HBC), led by local dance icon Yelena Holt, has built a strong reputation for excellence and class. This June HBC will present Masterpieces 2019–an evening of scenes from Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Chopin’s Les Sylphides, and Variations from famous ballets from the classical period. Set on the generously sized stage of the Don Baggett Theater, and enhanced by the artistic inputs of scenic designer Pam Hodges, the ballet will transport the audience to a world of enchantment. The costumes are both elegant and sumptuous, with custom-made tutus from European designers.
The Sleeping Beauty will showcase excerpts from Act I, Aurora’s 16th birthday. Miriam Allen wonderfully performs the role of Aurora and Leah Skoyles skillfully dances the role of the Lilac Fairy.
Les Sylphides, described as a “romantic reverie,” is frequently cited as the first ballet to be simply about mood and dance. Les Sylphides consists of several white-clad sylphs dancing in the moonlight. Its original choreography was by Michel Fokine and was premiered 110 years ago by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes June 2, 1909 at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. Tenaya Anderson and Hannah Sheffo perform the solo roles and Miriam Allen and Sierra Fuentes are featured in the duet.
Variations features dazzling individual dances from Act III of The Sleeping Beauty as well as dances from a variety of ballets, giving the audience a taste of classical ballet.
Holt Ballet alum Brenna O’Brien MacDonell trained with Holt Ballet Conservatory since 2011. She is returning to Nevada County from Albuquerque, New Mexico to perform the Esmeralda variation in Act III. Ms. O’Brien MacDonell is attending the University of New Mexico and is a member of the New Mexico Ballet Company.
More than 50 Holt Ballet students also perform corps, leading roles, and fill out the cast in The Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, and Variations.
Quotes (Yelena Holt is the founder and owner of Holt Ballet Conservator. Nora Heiber and Amy Schultze are former professional ballet dancers and both are on the teaching staff of HBC.)
Yelena Holt: “What I like best about the process of preparing a show such as Masterpieces 2019 is watching the amazing accomplishments of each student. Whether it is an experienced professional or a pre-ballet student preparing their very first steps on stage, the light that shines from their eyes as they conquer each step and gain confidence is a joy to see.”
“I have produced dozens of shows over the years and can tell you that the level of ability required for this particular show is quite high, challenging each performer. In rehearsal, each dancer has taken this task of “measuring up” very seriously. It is an honor to be a part of an earnest dancer’s training.”
Nora Heiber: “Yelena Holt’s conservatory offers exceptional classical ballet training to our community. This year’s Spring performance highlights a group of extraordinary individuals who have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to the beauty, strength and joy found in this beautiful art form. I am moved by the growth I have witnessed in each of the young individuals I’ve had the privilege to teach. I have no doubt that these dancers will awe and inspire all those who are lucky enough to witness these performances.
Amy Schultze: “The scenes in this show are pure examples of classical and romantic ballet. The dancers have been rehearsing and training to become fully immersed in such traditional styles and seeing their transformation has been inspiring to watch. Each dancer in this show has really risen to the challenges required to dance these ballets at such a high level. I’m very proud of all their hard work.”
Know & Go
What: Holt Ballet Conservatory presents Masterpieces 2019—The Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides and Variations
When: 7 pm Friday June 14 and 7 pm Saturday June 15, 2019
Box Office opens at 5:30 pm for walk-up sales before each performance
Where: Don Baggett Theater, 11761 Ridge Road, Grass Valley, CA 95945
Tickets: Online from holtballet.com, $16-$20. Reserved seating.