Dancing in the desert
Glorious backdrops and splashy scenic panels line the sides of the auditorium.
“We’ve had so many calls from last night’s show, I’m adding three rows of seats,” Cathe says. In four hours, we will do our final performance.
Orllyene and I are cast as grandparents (type casting), for the Nutcracker Ballet. Cathe has combined a swarm of young girls (and one exuberant young boy, Con), with gifted teenage ballerinas, a powerful male ballet dancer(Brit Burns) from Reno, a renowned dance couple (Master dancer Justin Sherwood) and sylph-like ballerina (Erin Ginn), from New York City. The combination of all these dancers is spontaneously combustive. Before our eyes, a riddle ridden story of unfulfilled dreams, mystery, and magic jells into a rapturous performance of opulence and fun. When you dress people up in lavish costumes (Cathe’s domain), and fill the air with soul stirring music rendered on a new sound system, plus engaging a remarkably talented cast, all heck breaks loose. This is live entertainment at its very best.
It’s show time. Fog covers the stage, the curtain opens — one, two, three groups of merry makers cross the stage. A mysterious magician (Donald McCandless) hovers center stage. Elegantly attired grandma(Orllyene), and grandpa(me), who imagines himself in the likeness of Cary Grant, stride on stage. They peruse the magicians wares, haggle over price, make a purchase, and go their way. The curtain closes; scenery pours on from the wings, and a rapturous party scene follows. Party goers dressed in period garb, chat, flirt, and imbibe, as Clara (Valerie and Gracie, who alternate the role), perform with the grace of an angel. Ash, a twig of a girl, never breaks character, as she and a score of girls frolic. Con, her real-life brother, has a major roll. He’s a trouble maker, a pest, and displays his seven-year-old manliness at every opportunity. Brit and Clara romanticize and reveal their love through dance. Argia, a truly beguiling young woman thrills the audience as she melds gracefully into a cloud of snow maidens.
Act two comes alive with Spanish, Chinese, Arabian, Russian dances, then Ginger Snaps, Marzipans and Mamma Ginger delight us with their humor and sharp choreography. Bethany, Emily and Cassie have given the show commendable pacing, and a rich array of dance styles. With every change of scenery, the stage comes alive with color and design.
Surprise follows surprise, and the night becomes a joyous fantasy. Who can guess what will happen next?
Then, a crowning moment, and what a treat it is. Justin and Erin take the stage. They have traveled all the way from Manhattan to dance for us. The level of excellence ratchets up a notch. I can’t believe I’m in Yerington, Nevada! They’re pure elegance, and the frosting on the cake.
Cathe’s Through a Child’s Eye’s Foundation has pulled off a miracle. Who knows how many volunteers, parents, students and professionals have given of their time? This year’s Nutcracker is a whopping success. It takes many minds, and a lot of heart, to have make believe happen on stage. Thank you, everyone. It was pure fun.
Ron Walker lives in Smith Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.