© Lisa Shara; Published in North State Parent January 2014
In Chico, the powerhouse brother-sister team of Sarah Blakley and Jeff Schneeweis brings a strong mix of creative talents to their new company, Believe Productions. The duo developed separate careers in the arts, and say they have always been inspired by each other’s work. It’s no stretch to understand why.
Blakley works as a choreographer, director and dance educator. She owns and operates Hype Dance Studio in Chico, recently celebrating its 10th anniversary. Along with a staff of 13, she provides classes for all levels of dancers. Blakley also founded and directs the award-winning Fusion Dance Company, providing dancers additional professional-level training. She choreographs for music videos, commercials, industrials, and for professional sports organizations. Currently she is choreographer for the NBA Sacramento Kings Dancers, and has been both a dancer and choreographer for the NBA Golden State Warriors Dance Team.
Schneeweis is a singer, songwriter, musician and producer. In addition to vocals, he plays drums, guitar and keyboard. He owns Old Sailor Studios, a recording studio in Chico, and is a member of two bands: Number One Gun, a Christian rock band, and The Make, an indie pop group. Also a diverse solo artist, Schneeweis has released original music throughout his career. His eclectic and heartfelt versions of popular songs have become immensely popular on YouTube. Continue reading
By Lisa Shara and Daria O’Brien; Published in North State Parent, January 2014
The Raven and the Unicorn Children’s Theater is a proposed 800-seat theater designed specifically for child-centered performing arts programs and educational opportunities. The theater will be the only Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum-level certified children’s theater in the world, demonstrating environmentally sustainable construction and technologies. Continue reading
© Lisa Shara; Published in North State Parent, January 2014
In a performing arts lesson celebrating European countries, Maria Trenda leads students using Braindancing technique as they learn about classical ballet.
In a setting best described as welcoming and warm, where diversity is honored and creativity abounds, children go about the business of learning with great enthusiasm. Smiling teachers clearly are having as much fun as they guide students in discovery and play. The inspiration is palpable. Continue reading
© Lisa Shara; published in North State Parent, December 2013
The North State offers numerous holiday productions, as evidenced in our Going Places events calendar. We took the time to find out about the creative force behind three of them:
Redding City Ballet: The Nutcracker
Mother Ginger and the Peppermints in The Nutcracker. Photo: Redding City Ballet.
In Redding, the Redding City Ballet (RCB) presents The Nutcracker, a classic family holiday ballet that audiences love.
“Every year we try to add something new to the production,” says Diana Christensen, the company’s artistic director. This level of creativity is one reason RCB’s Nutcracker is a much-anticipated North State holiday tradition.
Last year’s audience was amazed by a new character, “Mother Ginger,” whose costume is so large that wearing it requires the dancer to balance (and perform) on stilts as the costume is lowered onto him/her from above. The antics of young dancers, the “Peppermints,” who emerge from Mother Ginger’s skirt, add to the humor. Continue reading