Sierra Nevada Ballet brings big-city arts to Reno

Sierra Nevada Ballet has successfully operated as a 501(c)3 charitable organization since 2001. Under the leadership of Rosine Bena, artistic director, and Steven M. Porter, board president the organization has a 2015-16 operating budget of $325,363, an artistic staff of 26 dancers and trainees, a professional teaching staff, a production staff of five, and an administrative staff of three. Up to 30 volunteers serving more than 200 hours per year enable Sierra Nevada Ballet to educate and entertain more than 10,000 residents and tourists annually including 4,000 schoolchildren.

In 2008, Sierra Nevada Ballet began a formal affiliation with America Ballet Theatre, the national ballet company for the USA. SNB’s Rosine Bena, is fully accredited and certified in the American Ballet Theatre national ballet curriculum and acts as ambassadors for the curriculum. Bena hails from a three-generation ballet theater family: Anne Capozzi Bena (mother), Rosine Bena (daughter), Amanda Bena Weber (granddaughter), and Edward Bena (father).

Bena also is the director of ballet for Western Nevada Performing Arts Center in Carson City, a guest master teacher for the Regional Dance America Ballet Festival and has been honored with numerous awards, grants and teaching opportunities.

The Sierra Nevada Ballet Academy, established in 2013, specializes in a comprehensive trainee/apprenticeship/professional program in the ballet profession and arts administration. The “hands-on” experience working directly with dance artists, designers, technicians, and administrators in their respective fields offers career-track dancers the opportunity to live and work in northern Nevada. In 2017, the Professional Program will provide a living expense stipend of $12,240 for a 40-hour per week schedule with administrative duties and dance requirements. Prospective Professional Program candidates may apply and audition as vacant positions become available or at the discretion of the artistic director.

SNB collaborates with well-established arts organizations including: American Ballet Theatre, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet San José, Nevada Opera, Smuin Ballet SF, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno Jazz Orchestra, Brewery Arts Center, Brüka Theatre, Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, Pipers Opera House, Reno Artown Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Carson City Community Center, Oats Park Arts Center, Reno Little Theater, Brewery Arts Center, Northern Nevada PRIDE, and Spark’s Holiday Festival. SNB also collaborates with schools throughout Nevada including UNR School of the Arts, Washoe County School District, Douglas County Schools, and dance schools in Carson City, Incline, Fallon, Sparks, and Reno.

Sierra Nevada Ballet receives funding for its educational outreach and public performances from a wide range of institutions and donors. In 2015, Barbara Land, SNB education outreach director, forged a new relationship with Z Body Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit foundation created to provide free-of-charge movement programs and workshops in northern Nevada. This affiliation brings ballet and dance, along with strategies for achieving life-long levels of physical fitness to adult and children of socio-cultural needs, adult and children with mild physical disabilities, and a younger generation of Nevadans. Ms. Land was the founding director of the University of Nevada, Reno dance program. She has published articles and books on dance in culture and history, dancers’ wellness, and injury prevention. She is the recipient of the State of Nevada Governor’s Arts Award in Dance, and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Nevada, Reno College of Liberal Arts. She holds both a Teaching Certificate and Diploma from the Royal Academy of Dancing, London, England.

Nicholas-Martin Kearney joined the leadership team of Sierra Nevada Ballet as development & marketing director in 2015 after working for more than three decades as a performing artist and arts administrator in dance and theatre. His background and skills in commercial entertainment and nonprofit dance bring together a unique blend of organizational leadership, production experience, creative innovation, and business acumen. As a nonprofit arts management consultant and coach, he is responsible for the marketing, communications, and business development of this professional dance company.

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