Russian dancers to teach local ballet workshop

Ballet students Katie Paul, 11, and Danielle Williams, 12, have a plan for dancing in front of two master teachers next week.

"Stretch really well and think twice that we're going to do OK," Katie said.

Western Nevada ballet dancers will be exposed next week to world-renowned Russian dancers, who will teach an intensive five-day ballet workshop in Carson City starting Monday, Aug. 6.

"We're a little nervous because we don't know what they're like," Danielle said. "I'm excited because they're new professionals, and it gives us a chance to get better."

Gennadi and Larissa Savelieu, both dancers formerly with the Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company, will teach the workshop, which is hosted by Western Nevada's new professional company, the Sierra Nevada Ballet.

Rosine Bena, artist director for the Sierra Nevada Ballet and an instructor at the Western Nevada Preforming Arts Center, said Russian dancers are among the best in the world, and the exposure area students will receive is invaluable.

"In order to match the Russians, you have to have influences of the Russians," Bena said. "They're coming from a world-renowned company that doesn't come to this area. We want to expose more people in the area to what's out there. It's good for (students) to get an idea of what's expected of them."

Gennadi Savelieu is a soloist with the American Ballet Theater in New York City, as well as a teacher at the company's school. Larissa Savelieu danced with the Los Angeles Classical Ballet, the New Jersey Ballet and the Tulsa Ballet. The couple founded and directs the Youth America Grand Prix Competition in New York City.

Bena, a former professional ballerina, said she hopes to draw people "who are serious about ballet, whether they're beginning or advanced" to the advanced and intermediate sections of the workshop. Bena and Larissa Savelieu will teach a special class for beginning elementary and teenage students during the week.

Dancers must try out for the workshop from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4. Preregistration is required. Classes and workshops will be at the Western Nevada Preforming Arts Center, above Java Joe's at 319 N. Carson St.

Funded in part by the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, any proceeds garnered from the workshop will support the ballet company.

Bena said she hopes to cull from those participating in the workshop apprentices for the professional ballet company, which could have its first production next summer. Auditions for the apprentice program will be 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10.

Bena said she is working with the Nevada Arts Council and the Nevada Ballet Theater of Las Vegas on a production which could include an educational outreach program in rural Nevada. The local ballet company will include a dance education outreach program, she said.

What: The Sierra Nevada Ballet and Western Nevada School of Preforming Arts summer ballet workshop

Tryouts: Saturday, Aug. 4 from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Workshop: Monday, Aug. 6 through Friday, Aug. 10.

Information: 783-3223

Registration: $30

Cost: Classes begin at $20


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