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Strip meets classical ballet for show of ‘Hope’

"Hope 5: An Afternoon of Classical Ballet" is a milestone on two fronts and two ballet slippers.

The annual charity performance is to mark its fifth show with "Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular" talent and be the last gathering before the Strip show closes in September.

Before the chandelier is put away, dancers from the "Phantom" cast are set to join ballerinas from the Nevada Ballet Theatre for performances at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the College of Southern Nevada’s Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave. The shows are to benefit Family Promise of Las Vegas, which aids homeless and in-crisis families, and the CSN Performing Arts Center.

The all-ages show is to encompass traditional ballet with familiar pieces such as "Swan Lake" and "Cinderella" and an original, contemporary work, "Nimrod," created and choreographed by Erina Noda, Hope 5 artistic director and "Phantom" principal dancer.

"We have a lot of shows on the Strip but no classical ballet," she said. "It’s something I love."

Seven dancers of varying esteemed pedigrees make up the "Hope 5" cast.

One pairing of dancers are newlyweds Barrington Lohr and Mary LaCroix of the Nevada Ballet Theatre. The show is also to include singers and live musicians.

"It’s something nobody is going to see anywhere else," said Patrick Leveque, show co-producer and "Phantom" ensemble and understudy. "It’s a little bit of everything."

The Hope shows started in 2008 with a fledgling cast of fewer than 10, Leveque said. Family Promise of Las Vegas advocate Bruce Ewing founded the event with fellow "Phantom" cast member and alum Noda as an outlet for creativity and community stewardship, said Family Promise of Las Vegas executive director Terry Lindemann.

"They all wanted to give back to their community somehow," she said. "He suggested that they do a ballet for us. They really wanted a way to use their primary craft they were trained in and give back to their community."

Leveque, who is slated to sing and dance during his third Hope show, said the show often directly links young ballerinas with professional icons.

"Every year, we make sure that our cast goes out and talks to the community after the shows," he said. "Just to see the looks in the children’s eyes when they met the performers (was great). They were kind of star-struck. If it was a giant ballet company, you wouldn’t be able to see and interact with the professionals."

A silent auction is also planned. The CSN Performing Arts Center’s share of proceeds is to benefit its "Friends of the Horn Theatre" program.

"For a very small fee, you’re going to see a classical ballet and support two very important programs," Lindemann said. "It’ll be bittersweet; we may be saying goodbye to some longtime supporters."

Although the end of "Phantom" is near, Noda said Hope shows may become a cast reunion in the future. It’s likely that some cast members may move on from Las Vegas, she said.

"We are all excited about the new chapter in our lives," Noda said. "Many dancers are willing to come back and help with the show. It’ll be like a reunion as we keep it going."

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. The fee includes a post-show reception.

For more information, call the CSN box office at 651-5483 or visit csn.edu/pac.

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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