Fire and ice

California Contemporary Ballet's 'Snow Queen' evolves with updated choreography and edgier main character.

December 01, 2010|By Nicole Charky
(Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

"The Nutcracker" is often the usual Christmas classic, but locals know another story: "The Snow Queen."

California Contemporary Ballet will perform Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of good prevailing over evil Dec. 17 to 19. The story tells of two best friends, Gerta and Kai, and Gerta's path to reach Kai after the Snow Queen places him under an evil spell.

"The Snow Queen" features a cast of 60 performers in a mix of classical ballet and contemporary dance. Dancers also take flight through aerial ballet.

Artistic director Erin Holt created original choreography for the fable 13 years ago, beginning with only the rhythms and melodies created by composer Randall Michael Tobin of Burbank. She makes minor adjustments each year, as her ballet transformed from an original youth ballet to a professional company tradition.

"For me, the reward is seeing all the dancers produce the story and seeing my choreography and how they interpret it," Holt said.


Holt enhanced the Snow Queen role to have forest creatures as her pets and embellished choreography.

"This year I'm putting my stamp on the role," she said. "Audiences will see a more contemporary and edgier Snow Queen."

Fans of the show return every year and travel from other states to see the custom costumes and vibrant lighting, she said.

"I think the story is the biggest reason," Holt said. "It's a really wonderful wintertime tale, but Hans Christian Andersen has a lot of metaphors that he relates to life. I think that when people see 'The Snow Queen' that they leave thinking that of course there is good and bad in the world, but those things can be overcome, and good can prevail."

Holt finds various talent to place in specific roles and styles, she said.

"My dancers are awesome," Holt said. "They are very hard-working. They love to dance, tell a story and are very artistic. I can't say enough about my cast."

One dancer, La Cañada Flintridge resident Kelsey Glidewell, 17, will perform as Gerda, a principal character who perseveres to save her friend Kai. She has performed in "The Snow Queen" for the past 11 years.

"I love the story line, and I love the people in it," Kelsey said. "I've been in it for so long, so I've gotten used to everything."

Glendale resident Kayla Stephanian will dance in a solo piece as the guardian angel.

"The performance has a lot of emotion and tells a story really well," Kayla said. "It's just really different."

Glendale News-Press Articles Glendale News-Press Articles