Sleeping Beauty to open this weekend

Little girls paraded in their costumes amid the din, confusion, and excitement of a full dress rehearsal Sunday as students of the Western Nevada Performing Arts Center prepared for their first performance of Sleeping Beauty.

This classic fairy tale-turned-ballet is performed to the music of Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky, and the story line follows the life of Princess Aurora, cursed by an evil queen to prick her finger on a spindle and die. But through a special gift from a fairy, she instead falls into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by the kiss of true love. In addition to a happy ending, the ballet promises fairies, graceful forest animals, evil gargoyles, and a magnificent grand ball.

The cast includes 55 students Carson Valley children and teens, as well as Blake Hennesy York, a student from Ann Peterson's Dance Workshop in Gardnerville who plays Prince Phillip. All are guided by instructor/choreographers Gena Kaskie Davis and Rosine Bena.

A ballerina with a distinguished 28-year career, Bena has performed as a principal ballerina for the Stuttgart Ballet in Germany, the Washington Ballet in Washington D.C., and the Peninsula Ballet Theater in San Mateo. She retired from dancing in 1992, and now divides her time between the Center in Carson City, and her own ballet school in San Mateo.

"I think what Gena has done here is wonderful. . . .The kids are wonderful, and this is fun," Bena said.

Gena Kaskie's resume is equally impressive. After training in England under the auspices of a member of the Royal Ballet, she became a dancer in Paris at the age of eighteen. But when she was nineteen, she moved to Reno to be a part of local productions like "Hello, Hollywood Hello," and "Spellbound." She has been teaching in the Carson City area since she retired from dancing thirteen years ago, and opened her own studio, Western Nevada Performing Arts Center, two-and-a-half years ago.

Costs for this production are estimated at $14,000 and $15,000, and students have helped with fundraisers and fees for the event, which will be staged Nevada Day Weekend from Oct. 27 to 29.

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students, BAC members and seniors, and $8 for children. Children coming to the Friday or Sunday matinee in Halloween costumes receive $1 off the ticket price. For more information, call 882-7485 or 883-1976.

What: Sleeping Beauty

When: Friday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Carson City Community Center


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