Masterpieces of Ballet Coming June 15 & 16, 2018

Holt Ballet Conservatory, led by local dance icon Yelena Holt, has built a reputation for excellence and class. Holt Ballet Conservatory’s Spring offering is entitled Masterpieces 2018–an evening of scenes from Leo Delibes’ Coppelia, Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird, plus Variations from famous ballets from the classical and neoclassical periods.

Coppelia will showcase excerpts from Act I, the story between the village beauty Swanhilda and her beloved Franz. Nora Heiber, who brings wonderful comic timing and inventiveness to the role, performs Dr. Coppélius. The eccentric doctor has made a life-size dancing doll. It is so lifelike that Franz becomes so infatuated with the doll that he sets aside his true heart’s desire, Swanhilda, to pursue the affections of Coppelia. Graduating High School Senior Brenna O’Brien MacDonell wonderfully dances the character of Swanhilda and professional dancer Christopher Selbie portrays Franz.

The Firebird will present a medley of dances telling the story of the magical Firebird and its hero, Prince Ivan. While hunting in the forest, Prince Ivan strays into the magical realm of Koschei the Immortal, whose immortality is preserved by keeping his soul in a magic egg hidden in a casket. Ivan chases and captures the Firebird and is about to kill her; she begs for her life and he spares her. As a token of thanks she offers him an enchanted feather that he can use to summon her, should he be in dire need. Professionals Amy Schultze and Christopher Selbie dance the Firebird. These two dynamic dancers create entertaining, compelling and inspiring characterizations.

Variations features dazzling individual dances from a variety of ballets, giving the audience a taste of ballet over the centuries.

More than 50 Holt Ballet students also perform corps, leading roles, and fill out the cast in Coppelia, The Firebird, and Variations.

Nora Heiber (Dr. Coppelius) is a founding member of Alonzo King LINES Ballet (12 years); she served as a Board Trustee (10 years) and danced with San Francisco Opera (18 years). She is a founder of Allsgood Farm, promoting conscious living through sustainable farming, and offering workshops in dance, yoga, and gyrotonic. Ms. Heiber is on staff with Holt Ballet Conservatory, teaching Variations.

Amy Frost Schultze danced Firebird ten years ago as a professional dancer and enjoyed the role very much, although she performed with a torn meniscus. “Revisiting the role has been such a gift and I have been able to fully immerse myself into the demands of the character. I have also enjoyed creating original choreography for this ballet, noting the beauty and complexity of the Stravinsky score. The Firebird is a magical story with exciting music, gorgeous costumes and incredible dancing.”

Brenna O’Brien MacDonell began dancing with Holt Ballet Conservatory when the studio first opened in 2011–when she was in 6th grade. The studio has been an important part of her life growing up, and has become her second home and family. “I definitely would not be the person I am today if it had not been for the amazing experiences I have had with HBC. As much as I will miss home and my studio, I am excited to attend the University of New Mexico in the fall, where I plan to dance at the studio of the New Mexico Ballet Company.”

Christopher Selbie performed with David Taylor Dance Theatre, Zikr, and the Dawson/Wallace Dance Project, of Denver, Colorado. He is an integral member of Holt Ballet Conservatory. He has performed as the Nutcracker Cavalier in Clara and the Nutcracker and as Siegfried in Swan Lake. Chris is a powerful performer with great technique and precision on stage. His strong partnering skills make him a major asset to Holt Ballet. He runs a Structural Integration bodywork practice in Nevada City.

Quotes from Yelena Holt:
“What I like best about the process of preparing a show such as Masterpieces 2018 is watching the amazing accomplishments of each student. Whether it is a seasoned professional or a pre-ballet student preparing her very first steps on stage, the light that shines from their eyes as they conquer each step and as they gain confidence in their ability to perform on stage is a joy to see and be a part of.”

“I hope, and know, from having produced dozens of shows over the years, that each performer feels the satisfaction of having done his or her best during the process and on the stage. The level of ability of this particular show is very high which makes the bar high for 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.”

Know & Go
What: Holt Ballet Conservatory presents Masterpieces 2018—Coppelia, Firebird, and Variations
When: 7 pm Friday June 15 and 7 pm Saturday June 16, 2018
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, $16-$20. Reserved seating.
Info:; 530.278.5131