When Founder Christin Hanna and her co-director Constantine Baecher of the eleven-year-running Lake Tahoe Dance Festival, now on in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, call their event ‘family-oriented,’ the community responds positively.
Chatting after her successful Gala opening night, Ms. Hanna described how the kids who study with her have learned to pitch in.
“All my dancers know how to lay Marley. They all know how to hang a light. They arrive, put their bags down and say, ‘How can we help?’ For them to be growing up in an experience as part of a community, and the pros are here, where they can say to Ashley Bouder, ‘Hi Ashley, can you help pin my hair?’ The way the world is going — with so much strife and disagreement — it is so important for young people to see us working together toward a cause.”Christin Hanna, Founder and Co-Director Lake Tahoe Dance Festival
And that’s why parents enroll children in the Festival’s Young Dancers Workshop, a three-week intensive training program offering classes with the festival artists with an emphasis on classical ballet, modern technique and improvisation. The kids learn a repertory work to be performed in the festival. For this year’s showcase, Syphides Suite, Ms. Hanna culled from the great Fokine masterwork, Les Sylphides — reconfigured for tots. The result, pictured above, sets some seriously cute mini-sylphs loose in a woodsy glen, frolicking around a pint-sized poet. As the Festival’s resident ballet pedagogue Daniel Baudendistel puts it, “When they learn it, they remember it, and will be introduced to ballet blanc. It’s very educational for them.” A separate, older group in violet-tinged tutus brought vivacity to Baudendistel’s original ballet tailored to dancers of their abilities: Salon de Verdi, named for the work’s composer.
One Festival participant to take the family invitation to heart was Stephen Hanna, who taught the advanced company class Wednesday morning with his son, Maverick, a baby, on board.
More fun by Festival kids below:
Lake Tahoe Dance Festival | Truckee and Tahoe City, California | through Saturday