California Contemporary Ballet Celebrates 20 Years with Holiday Performances of “The Snow Queen”

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From STAFF REPORTS

11:45 am | November 24, 2017


California Contemporary Ballet professional and youth dance company from La Cañada, is currently celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its popular and beloved original ballet titled “The Snow Queen.” The Company has been raising the bar on entertaining the community, and this year will prove no different. Together with Aerin Holt, the Company’s artistic director and choreographer, the 2017 production of the annual The Snow Queen will be joined by veteran career dancers, children, community volunteers and family participation.

This year’s production marks a homecoming of the ballet that was last produced in 2013. During the production’s hiatus, Ms. Holt created two new full-length ballets and several other concert works, adding to the Company’s extensive and cutting-edge repertory. The Snow Queen formerly enjoyed 17 years of sold-out performances and has become the Company’s signature annual presentation.

Holt explains, “The Snow Queen has always been our most popular ballet and people constantly inquire when the ballet will be performed again”. The ballet, adapted from an enchanting holiday fairy tale with original choreography by Ms. Holt, has been set to an original score created by composer Randall Michael Tobin.

For three days, Friday through Sunday, December 15-17, 2017, California Contemporary Ballet will perform in Glendale Community College’s theater. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on December 15 and matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17. Advance tickets are $28 for adults and $23 for students and $33 for adults and $28 for students at the door. For tickets or information, call 818-790-7924.

Twenty years ago, The Snow Queen, Holt’s choice for the refreshing holiday presentation of Hans Christian Anderson’s story of the same name (as an alternative to the standard Nutcracker fare), was the first hint that her show would be a dramatic departure from tradition. The story centers around the struggle between good and evil, as faced by a young boy named Kai, and his friend, the brave and loyal Gerda.

Holt says, “Our Company has grown since the early days when the ballet was created for a handful of hopeful young dancers. Today, we continue to develop and present ballets that allow young dancers to perform well while being inspired by talented career professionals. We typically combine traditional ballet with contemporary dance forms. As the featured talent has improved over the years, so has the choreography. The Snow Queen is an opportunity to see a finely-tuned production featuring an integrated cast of professional and well-trained amateur talent. It is a charming winter tale, professionally done, that is affordable for the entire community.”

One veteran dancer, Ilene Rivera, from La Crescenta, has been a cast and crew member since the show’s earliest years. Her daughter attended ballet classes and performed in the Snow Queen. Rivera says, “I’ve always performed the adult folk dance in the opening and ending scenes, and I also volunteer backstage. I enjoy it so much that I have continued my participation long after my daughter left the Company to attend college.”

“Welcoming families into the cast has been a tradition,” Holt cheers. Tina Yedgarian, from La Crescenta, and her daughter Angela (aged 10), will be performing together. Tina is joining the production as a featured cast member in the role of the Gypsy Woman, while Angela performs as an Angel and a Town Kid. The ballet is also providing a bit of father-daughter time, as Kaery De Leon, of Glendale, will perform in the town scene with his daughter Madeleine (age 9), and will also appear in the featured role of narrator in the ballet’s concluding scene.

Veteran Alyssa Michelle of Canyon Country has been a member of the Company for 17 years. During her tenure, she has moved into the professional ranks of the Company, dancing many roles that have included performances in The Snow Queen. This year, she will perform the title role of The Snow Queen, and will also tackle a demanding role that she has never yet performed, that of the regal Princess. Alyssa’s biggest role to date is that of mother to 4-year old Sophie, who will be joining the cast for the first time as a Snowflake.

Alyssa’s long-time performing partner, Nicholas Zerman of Altadena, is also a long-time veteran Company dancer, and he will be reprising his most recent role as the Prince. Tagging along will be his little brother, Oliver Zerman Moore (age 8), who will perform as a gypsy and a baby wolf cub. Their mother, Veronica Zerman, also from Altadena, will again provide her volunteer services as the production’s stage manager, a position she has held for the past 15 years.

Sharing the title role of the “Snow Queen”, Emily Truong (age 16) of La Canada, a student at La Cañada High School, will also tackle the technically demanding role of the “The Rose”. Holt’s pride can hardly be contained, “We are so thrilled to debut one of our very talented young dancers in two principal roles. It’s exciting to see dancers moving up through the ranks, particularly when they work hard to accomplish the technical and dramatic demands to bring the role to life.”

Also from La Cañada, Kelsey Glidewell returns to perform in The Snow Queen. A former member of the Company, Kelsey is set to perform a role that she previously danced, namely the crafty Gypsy Girl, who robs Gerda and then befriends her. Kelsey, a graduate of both La Cañada High School and Loyola Marymount University, is now balancing a career in the medical field with the demands of her role.

From Tujunga, Alexis Ash is a young college student who balances her studies with rehearsals. She will be debuting as the story’s heroine, Gerda, whose tale of love and persistence is expressed through a series of encounters with characters that she meets while searching to find and save her best friend from the Snow Queen’s grasp.

The Snow Queen promises ballet fun for the entire family with creatures of the forest that perform on aerial scarves, colorful gypsies that spin and flip, jumping Reindeer, flying Crows, a Guardian Angel and other characters that weave the meaningful story to its delightful conclusion.

Tickets for performances December 15th, 16th & 17th are on sale now at SnowQueenballet.com.

For more information, about California Contemporary Ballet visit http://calballet.com.