Tag Archives: Southwest Virginia Ballet

Meet Renée Hamilton of SWVA Ballet!

Southwest Virginia Ballet’s new executive director, Renée Hamilton, has been passionate about dance since she was a child. She began dancing very young, in elementary school, and continued dancing in different areas with a focus in ballet well into high school in Winchester, Virginia. Both in college and after graduation, she continued taking classes and remaining active on a voluntary basis.
After spending time in Arkansas, Renée moved back to the east coast and connected with Southwest Virginia Ballet. From the moment she met Karen and Pedro, she knew it would be a good fit for her.
Now, with the Southwest Virginia Ballet’s 22nd production of the Nutcracker approaching, her connection is accompanied by nostalgia.
“The Nutcracker was the first performance I was ever in as a child. I played Clara, and my parents danced in the Nutcracker alongside me. It’s something that naturally brings back childhood memories every Christmas, and makes it magical from the beginning of the season all the way through,” says Renée.
Artistic director, Pedro Szalay, is dedicated to adding something new every year in order to keep the performance fresh and new. Audiences who attend annually are often excited to see what changes he has made to costumes and choreography.
“The other fun part is watching kids in the company and community members grow and change throughout. These are exceedingly well-trained, passionate, artistic kids,” adds Renée.
In addition to supporting the participating young dancers, Southwest Virginia Ballet has a mission to give back to clients of human service organizations. If someone is going through a difficult time, and would have their holiday made better by attending a Nutcracker performance, their therapist or contact person can contact the office and say they are interested in receiving tickets for their client.
If you’d like to be part of this great organization and work with talented creatives like Pedro and Renée, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities!
“You don’t have to have a dance background to get involved. We will not turn away volunteers. We need people who sew, hair stylists, or any people who would like to get involved. We can look for a good match for their interests!” explains Renée.
Learn more about the Southwest Virginia Ballet (and Renée!) by attending events like their Nutcracker Gala on November 18 at the Shenandoah Club. There, you can also participate in an auction of locally handcrafted painted nutcrackers and other treasures! Additional events include Readings with Clara and the SugarPlum Fairy at local libraries through November and December. Of course, we can’t forget The Nutcracker performances at the Berglund Performing Arts Center on Saturday, December 9, at 2 pm and 7 pm, and Sunday, December 10, at 3 pm.
Visit www.svballet.org for more information and to purchase tickets

 

Photography by McDilda Photography.

Holiday Happenings!

Traditions are important, and it is never too late to start a new one with your family and friends. There are several very important events happening this holiday season that should be on your calendar if they are not already. And, who knows, you may run in to a Bella girl while you are there!

15230807_10154696474809400_5663766098762608240_nThe Southwest Virginia Ballet will present The Nutcracker on Saturday, December 10 at 2 pm and 7 pm, and Sunday, December 11 at 3 pm at the Berglund Performing Arts Center. Adapted from “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffman, this holiday tradition features a cast of 150 performers that represent over 15 dance school from the Roanoke Valley and beyond with choreography by the incredibly talented Pedro Szalay. Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as they battle giant mice, dance with snowflakes, and journey to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugar Plum Fairy entertains them with exotic dances from around the world. Guests may also purchase tickets to Clara’s Tea Party at the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 pm. At this special pre-performance event, you will have the opportunity to meet Clara, The Nutcracker, and The Sugar Plum Fairy. Tea, cocoa, and treats will be served. For more information on this event and how to purchase tickets, go to www.svballet.org.

2015-love-light-treeOne of the most important gifts you can give yourself or a grieving family member during the holidays is time to remember those who cannot be with you. The Good Samaritan Hospice Love Light Tree has helped people in our community do just that since 1995. You can purchase a “love light tag” in memory of a loved one for $10 or, for a donation of $25, individuals receive a 2016 porcelain ornament and a “love light tag.”

“Our love for someone does not die with them. It lives on in memories and day-to-day reminders of what life together meant. We work through grief by remembering, not by forgetting,” explains Good Samaritan Hospice CEO Sue Ranson.

At the beginning of the holiday season, Love Light Trees will be set up in Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke and New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg. They will be left on display at these locations throughout the months of November and December. Those who purchase “love light tags” will be able to choose the tree on which they would like their tag to be displayed. Thursday, December 15, is the deadline date to order Love Light ornaments to guarantee that they will be received in time for Christmas. Visit www.goodsamhospice.com for more information.

Make memories that will last a lifetime at Dickens of a Christmas in Downtown Roanoke! This event takes place on the first three Fridays in December. Festivities will begin on December 2 with the City of Roanoke’s Christmas Tree Lighting at 6:15 pm. On December 9, the Christmas Parade will begin at 7 pm. Finally, on December 16, enjoy the Coca Cola Snow Zone and the RVSPCA Pet Costume Contest beginning at 6:30 pm.

This free, family-friendly event includes roasted chestnuts, carriage rides and street performers through all three evenings. Visit www.downtownroanoke.org for more information.

Southwest Virginia Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker

If you need a little inspiration to get into the holiday spirit, look no further than Southwest Virginia Ballet’s 20th production of The Nutcracker! Beautiful music, lush scenery, and lavish costumes perfectly complement E.T.A. Hoffmann’s timeless story as patrons of all ages have their imaginations sparked by a Christmas tree that grows to huge proportions, mice and soldiers in battle, and snowflakes whirling through falling snow.
The Nutcracker is a timeless tradition in Roanoke. Those who attend a performance every year know that each one offers something different. Audiences will be treated to new choreography and costumes with this production. Perhaps most importantly, the central message of this performance is, “Love will prevail.” With all of the chaos happening in the world around us, it is a helpful reminder to inspire happiness in our community for the holidays.
“You will feel the love and joy of the people on the stage. The goal is to help the audience enjoy life,” says choreographer Pedro Szalay.
That goal is one that the dancers and artists take very seriously. The students involved have made sacrifices all year to perfect their performances including attending rehearsals on Saturdays and Sundays and even missing school dances.
High school senior Katie Munson will dance the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy. This year marks her 12th performance in The Nutcracker. She began at a very young age as a reindeer in the play. Under the guidance of Szalay, she has blossomed into a performer that can fill the demanding role of The Sugar Plum Fairy .
“This role is very technical,” explains Szalay. “You need to be regal. She is the guider of the Land of the Sweets and everyone looks up to her. It is about the technique and the artistry. Katie has both.”
“This year is special because it is my last performance [as a student of Southwest Virginia Ballet],” says Munson. “I have had an amazing experience with them, and am grateful for the opportunity to showcase the artistry and talent that go into the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
The cast of this year’s production will include the 57 members of Southwest Virginia Ballet’s junior and senior company as well as over 150 community members from the ages of seven through “adult.”
Performances will take place at the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre on Saturday, December 12 at 2.p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 3 p.m. You can also purchase tickets for Clara’s Tea Party, a special pre-performance event on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.svballet.org.