California Contemporary Ballet (www.CalBallet.com and www.SnowQueenBallet.com) will present the 15th anniversary performance of the original ballet “The Snow Queen,” with three shows in Glendale on Dec. 21, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23. The ballet is based on the classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
For 15 years, Aerin Holt has served as artistic director of this holiday classic. With sold-out performances each year, Holt and her company are again gearing up for an anniversary extravaganza to mark its 15th season at the Glendale Community College Theater, with an evening performance at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 21, and matinees at 2 p.m. on Dec. 22 and Dec. 23.
In 2007, Holt took her dance company, California Contemporary Ballet, which had previously been a youth company, and converted it into a professional dance company with professional dancers. Together with its existing youth company members, the performing troupe put together an artfully integrated cast for “The Snow Queen” comprised of professional and youth talent to fill the principal roles of the ballet.
Each year since, the professional company dancers are supported by dancers, actors and gymnasts from the community in chorus roles, resulting in a 65-member cast from the local communities of La Crescenta, Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale and Burbank.
This year, “The Snow Queen” will feature professional talent performing the starring roles including Lauren Farrell who was personally selected by Holt to perform the title role of the Snow Queen.
This season, Nicholas Zerman, a long-standing member of the company’s professional ranks, will return to perform the demanding role of the Prince.
In an effort to keep the show fresh, Holt continually changes many of the roles and conducts auditions every season.
“In 15 years, we’ve had 15 casts,” Holt boasts. She also enjoys reworking the choreography to fit the talent of her cast members. While “The Snow Queen” may be touted as a ballet, Holt infuses each performance with classical and contemporary dance styles that weave together the classic winter-time tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
Changes to the production have included the introduction of aerial arts where “creatures” resembling wolves, panthers, leopards and other wild animals perform on hanging silk scarves as the Snow Queen delicately balances 40 feet in the air on a hanging hoop.
Also featured in this year’s production is Lissa Farrington of La Crescenta who skillfully blends dance and gymnastics in the role of The Crow. Dancer Julia Houser of La Cañada Flintridge and a long-time member of the youth company, will be featured in the role as Gypsy Girl, a role that requires both dance and gymnastic skills. A seasoned aerialist, Houser is also featured on the aerial scarves and is seen performing many dazzling moves before falling in a death-defying drop, catching herself mere inches from the floor.
Advance tickets to “The Snow Queen” are $20-$25; at door are $25-$30. Discounts available for groups. Tickets are available at www.SnowQueenBallet.com or www.CalBallet.com or by calling (818) 790-7924.