Mike Napoli July 18 at 9:51am
Cheating, Lying, Stealing is BRILLIANT ! Mike
Performing Arts LIVE Saw the California Contemporary Ballet last night in Glendale. They were outstanding. Aerin Holt is doing terrific work over there. You should check them out. Hart – Pulse Dance Company, Kenneth Walker Dance Project and Djanbazian Cance Company also performed. Cheating, Lying , Stealing ( A Premier) was my favorite.
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“Saw the California Contemporary Ballet last night in Glendale. They were outstanding. Aerin Holt is doing terrific work… Cheating, Lying, Stealing (A Premier) is BRILLIANT! “ Mike Napoli- Performing Arts LIVE
It’s SNOW QUEEN time again!
November 22, 2009
Erin Holt and the California Contemporary Ballet (CCB) are presenting their 12th season of THE SNOW QUEEN, a holiday ballet based on Hans Christian Anderson´s fairy tale in which “good” prevails in the form of a little girl named Gerda who saves her friend Kai from an evil spell.
The cast of 60 includes professional principal dancers from Europe and the Southland (including Jaclyn Stryker of Tujunga and Jacob Bonham & Kelsey Glidewell of La Canada), plus many pre-professional youth dancers in supporting roles who have been trained at Holt´s California DanceArts academy.
Updated annually, this year´s production features elaborate hand-made costumes, brilliant light and set design, an incredible music score, and of course, Holt´s own “magical, aerial and fantasy-filled choreography.”
When I asked Holt how her unique blend of classical ballet and contemporary dance made this show different from others in the past, I was astonished by her answer. “There weren´t any others,” she said. “No one had ever produced THE SNOW QUEEN before. I created this show from scratch.”
In the fall of 1998, Holt searched for a holiday or winter themed ballet other than The Nutcracker Suite for her dancers to perform. Her friend, Marty Marshall, whose daughter was a student at DanceArts, showed her Hans Christian Anderson´s storybook. “It was so metaphoric,” Holt remembered. “It took a lot of reading to decide what the story meant.”
Marshall helped her produce the first treatment, and then Holt began putting the story together in terms of ballet. It had fifteen principal characters, but Holt had over 50 dancers. She still needed choreography for groups of dancers at all levels.
Marshall suggested that the Snow Queen´s castle might have servants. A forest would have trees, a garden; flowers. There were animals and even a river. Holt realized with a growing excitement that all of these could be choreographed into the ballet. Quickly she began to develop the new routines using her imagination, experience, and extensive training.
The task seemed impossible to me, but Holt said dance had been a part of her life since she was very young. “My mother said I never walked anywhere, I danced,” she remembers. “Whenever I heard music, I always thought in terms of choreography.”
A Modern Dance child prodigy, Holt studied under top professional teachers across the country, and was personally mentored in choreography and apprentice teaching by Charles Russell of the Joffrey Ballet. And now, for this pioneering adventure, it all kicked in.
Marshall then introduced Holt to musician and composer, Randall Michael Tobin. “He´s as magical with music as you are with dance,” she said. Tobin agreed to compose the music for the new ballet, even though it was scarcely two months before opening.
Holt took her ideas of rhythm and melody to Tobin and he composed the music. As soon as each piece was finished, she´d create the choreography and teach it to her dancers. Willing volunteers arrived and transformed her ideas for sets and costumes into reality.
Then, for three glorious days, the first ever ballet of THE SNOW QUEEN was performed. “I was so surprised,” Holt admitted. “People loved it. We began getting patrons. And they wanted to do it again the next year.”
Holt continues to improve the ballet each year, eliminating what didn’t quite work and replacing it with features designed to showcase the skill of her dancers and to “wow” the audience. This year will be no exception.
CCB will perform THE SNOW QUEEN for the 12th time, December 18-20 at the Glendale Community College´s Performing Arts Theatre. Advance tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students; $30 for adults, $25 for students, at the door. For info and tickets, call 818-790-7924 818-790-7924, or visit online at www.calballet.com or www.snowqueen.com