California Holiday Ballets



Snow Queen Ballet from California Contemporary Ballet
December 18 – 20, 2009; 2010 Dates TBD


The Snow Queen is Hans Christian Anderson’s classic winter-time fantasy world where Good prevails as personified by a little girl named “Gerda” who saves her friend Kai from an evil spell. The Snow Queen ultimately eradicates Evil when she reverses the spell. Presented by the California Contemporary Ballet, be transported into another world, the world of The Snow Queen, through dazzling performances by the professional cast from Europe and Southern California. Brilliant lighting and set design, gorgeous, ethereal hand-sewn costumes, and an original, moving musical score enhance the enchantment of this timeless fairy tale. 
Where: Glendale Community College’s theater, located at its Performing Arts Theater, 1500 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale CA. 91208.
Show Times: 7:30 p.m. on December 18 and 19 and matinee performances at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 19 and Sunday, December 20.
Tickets: Advance purchase tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students. ($30 for adults and $25 for students at the door.)  

For tickets or information, call 818-790-7924, or


California Contemporary Ballet Ups the Ante with New Professional Principal Cast, a final performance of up and coming Czech Republic male star, a 12-year ‘Snow Queen’ Veteran and Career Cast Members from Glendale, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Orange County

For three days, thousands of ballet and holiday entertainment seekers are transported to Hans Christian Anderson’s fantasy world where good prevails as personified by a little girl named Gerda who saves her friend Kai from an evil spell. Evil is set right when the spell is ultimately reversed by the Snow Queen.

This year’s The Snow Queen marks the 12th annual presentation of a great holiday and winter-time fairy tale presented by the professional non-profit company, California Contemporary Ballet. Brought to life by the creative vision of the company's Artistic Director and choreographer, Erin Holt, the Snow Queen ballet is presented complete with brilliant lighting and set design, custom hand sewn costumes, an original moving musical score by Randall Michael Tobin. The career dancers of the company transform audiences to another world- the world of The Snow Queen. The professional principal cast will be accompanied by the California Contemporary Youth Ballet. For three days, Friday through Sunday, December 18 -20, 2009, the CCB will perform at the Glendale Community College’s theater, located at its Performing Arts Theater, 1500 N. Verdugo Rd., Glendale CA. 91208. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on December 18 and 19 and matinee performances at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 19 and Sunday, December 20. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and $30 for adults and $25 for students at the door. For tickets or information, call 818-790-7924

For Erin Holt, the company’s visionary choreographer and Artistic Director, the 2009 production of the annual The Snow Queen is an evolutionary milestone marked by changes within the company which began primarily as a youth organization. Today, the company is one of Southern California’s burgeoning professional dance companies featuring the talent of career dancers and Holt’s unique brand of classical ballet and contemporary dance. In an effort to continue the encouragement of young dancers in their pursuits toward a career in dance, CCBallet continues to establish a youth division within its organization, California Contemporary Youth Ballet, consisting of career motivated pre-professionals will appear in supporting roles along-side the company’s professional principal cast in the Snow Queen ballet.
Visiting starring dancer from the Czech Republic Filip Stanek, a graduate of the Janacek Conservatory in Ostrava, Czech Republic has enjoyed the ballet and his role so much that he has returned each season since 2007 to dance with the company. Due to demands on his career in Europe, this may be the last opportunity for audiences to see his outstanding performance and portrayal of his starring role- that of “Kai” who suffers at the hand of the Snow Queen. This year’s ballet also features exciting new principal dancers from around the Southland, local Glendale and Tujunga dancers in starring roles such as the portrayal of “Gerda”, “an Enchantress”, “A Crow” ect… and one Pasadena-based principal cast member who has danced through the show’s evolution, having performed in all 12 of the show’s seasons as he has risen through the ranks to the starring role of Prince.

Says Holt, “We always wanted to offer a refreshing holiday presentation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen versus the standard Nutcracker fare. We finally feel that we have developed a technically strong and dramatic professional ballet company that can tell the story full of winter-time fantasy combining both the light and sometimes dark aspects of the tale.” The charming fairy tale’s metaphors and messages embrace values of love, learning, staying true to ones friends, persistence toward obtaining goals and over-coming obstacles…obstacles such as evil spells, raging rivers, tress that are alive and creatures of the forest. Says Holt, “This is a story that is as relevant today as it was when written by Hans Christian Anderson. The lessons learned and the stories characters are appealing.” Holt sites this appeal for the company’s 12 year success of the show and points out that the company continues to change and update the ballet for its audience. This year there is an effort to magnify the mood of fantasy where forest creatures perform Aerial ballet, the use of other effects and choreography. Holt says, “The ballet is held dear in the hearts of the company’s loyal fans of all ages who return to enjoy the production each year to be enchanted by the story and mesmerized by the performances, which have continued to be developed and has evolved from year to year.” CCB’s The Snow Queen ballet features more than 60 dancers who portray characters that meet up with the young Gerda along the path she travels during her quest to find her friend Kai. The Snow Queen is a pleasant alternative to the numerous Nutcracker productions at reasonable ticket rates.

Whether audiences enjoy the performance featuring a child Snowflake or dancers from their youth ballet who play flowers, gypsies, trees, or the remarkable talent of the company’s professional career dancers in the starring roles, the entire company of California Contemporary Ballet passionately take their audience on a journey to the inner realm of the Snow Queen.

A partial list of the starring principal cast members includes:
Samantha Hoe (The Snow Queen), North Hollywood: A member of California Contemporary Ballet, Ms. Hoe debuts this season in the starring role of The Snow Queen. A Native of New York, Samantha began her training with Roya Curie, former prima ballerina of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. After Curie’s passing, Samantha continued her studies with Peter and Lisa Newman of New York City Ballet and Valerie Feit of Alvin Ailey. Samantha attended many summer intensives programs with the Joffrey Ballet School, Alvin Ailey, and the American Academy of Ballet. In 2002, Samantha was accepted and attended the University of Hartford’s Hartt division on scholarship under the direction of Peggy Lyman. In 2004, Samantha was again awarded a scholarship to attend Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Performance and Dance Pedagogy in 2006. She performed two seasons with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet as a soloist and became a member of the prestigious Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre teaching faculty. Currently, Samantha is a member of the teaching faculty at California DanceArts.

Laura Mauldin (Gerda), Orange County: Began figure skating at the age of four and she began dancing when she was six. During a thirteen-year competitive skating career which took Laura and her brother/partner all over the U.S. and to Europe for competitions, ballet got pushed to side and eventually abandoned. But Laura returned to ballet at age eighteen after retiring from ice skating when she began attending Moorpark College, where her love of dance was reborn. Little did she imagine as she began the struggle to regain her ballet strengths that six years time would see her as a graduate of UCI with her bachelor’s in dance and with an opportunity to begin a professional career with California Contemporary Ballet.

Filip Stanek (Kai), Czech Republic: With career demands back home, this year may be Mr.Stanek’s final performance in the USA for some time. Stanek is a graduate from the Janacek´s Conservatory in the city of Ostrava within the Czech Republic where he excelled in his academic studies and training in dancing and acting. This is where he met CCB Artistic Director Erin Holt who invited Stanek to join the 2007 Snow Queen cast performing the role of "Kai." By popular demand, Stanek returned to perform the role in 2008 and again during the 2009 season. As a classical ballet dancer he has performed a wide variety of classics and is an award winning ballet dancer for several competitions winning prestigious awards. In 2009 he began his professional career with the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre under the direction of Igor Vaisada. He is also an award winning tap dancer having placed first at the Country Championship of Czech Republic and 16th place at World championship in Germany. Additionally Filip enjoys performing in variety entertainment having performed in the prestigious Luxembourg at EU ambassador’s ball and appeared nightly at the Croatia hotel’s resorts. He has performed in a musical theater production of Music Man and in Juliet and the Darkness. Stanek performs the role of “Kai” with music and choreography created specifically for him.

Heather Toner (Princess), Beverly Hills: Has been dancing for as long as she can remember. She began her training with Louise Mandel in Los Angeles and studied on scholarship at numerous ballet schools including The Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Met, Milwaukee Ballet and Ballet Austin. She was a finalist in the 1998 Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards for ballet, and performed with the Mandalone Project Company before graduating from high school and joining the Milwaukee Ballet Company. Heather danced with Ballet Austin under the direction of Stephen Mills. She earned her B.A. Degree in American Literature from UCLA and currently teaches ballet at California Dance Arts. Heather is thrilled to be dancing with California Contemporary Ballet.

Ryan Morrison (Prince), Pasadena: Morrison is a 12-year veteran of the Snow Queen, and has dazzled Snow Queen enthusiasts with his dramatic performances in the Snow Queen since the shows inception having performed in starring roles as Kai, the crow, the Reindeer and the Prince in 2004-2008, a role he will perform again this season. Ryan is now an advanced dancer at California DanceArts where he has received his core training for the past fourteen years studying with Erin Holt and notable teachers such as Yehuda Maor, Roberto Almaguer, Gina Ness, Israel Gabriel, Sean Green and Rudy Perez. He is a principal veteran member of the California Contemporary Ballet and in 2007 traveled to the Czech Republic where he performed with the company. He has also studied and performed with Universal Ballet, Hubbard Street Chicago, Salzburg Ballet and more.

Jaclyn Stryker (Enchantress), Tujunga and La Crescenta: Jaclyn is a principal member of the California Contemporary Ballet and a member of the Snow Queen cast since its beginning twelve years ago when she first appeared as the Princess. She may be recognized from several of her other memorable past performances including the Rose and Enchantress. She reigned as the Snow Queen in 2008, a role she has performed twice before. Jaclyn has received her core training from Erin Holt at California DanceArts. Additionally she has studied with Nancy Colahan, Peter Breuer and Valerie Huston. She graduated from the Los Angeles High School of the Arts on the campus of Cal State L.A and received a BFA, with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ms. Stryker has trained and performed internationally with the Salzburg International Ballet in Austria. In 2007 she performed as member of Santa Barbara Dance Theatre where she was given the opportunity to join their performance tour of China.

Emma Mesrobian (Gypsy Woman) from Glendale: Emma began her training as a young child who at eleven years of age became a member of Nare; an international Armenian Dance Troupe where her dance studies and performances caused her to fall in love with dancing for the rest of her life. She later attended Glendale College and in 2003, she transferred to California State University Long Beach where she proudly received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2006. During the course of her studies she was awarded the Jose Limon Scholarship. She is the co-founder of her own dance company called Couture Dance Company and is a member of the faculty at California DanceArts. She enjoys performing with California Contemporary Ballet and loves her role, performed for the second season.

Susan Vishmid, (The Rose), Santa Monica: A classically trained ballerina from the age of four, Susan began her studies under Rosemary Valaire and Yvonne Mounsey at the Westside Ballet School and continued her serious studies at the San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the Rock School (formerly the official school of the Pennsylvania Ballet). Susan holds a degree in Communication and Philosophy from the University of Southern California. Susan is also a registered yoga instructor and caters her style of yoga to the dance community because of the profound effects it has had on her own dancing and in working with other dancers.

In addition to the 60 dancers in the show, there are more than 50 volunteers who produce one of the most professional and elaborate holiday dance productions in Southern California. This year’s production features a more magical, fantasy-filled patina with new elaborate hand-made costumers, extensive light and set designs and composers enlisted to constantly elevate the quality of the presentation.

CCB emphasizes the demanding physical technique of classical ballet but goes well beyond just the physical requirements of the art. All proceeds from The Snow Queen will go toward producing CCB shows throughout the year.

About California Contemporary Ballet:
CCBallet is a non-profit company that providing its career professional dance members with the opportunity to perform an exciting repertory of innovative and original dance projects performed in concerts, theatre and festivals throughout Southern California. CCBallet recently performed in the Celebrate Dance Festival during the 2009 season at the Alex Theater in Glendale, as part of a special dance series produced by Los Angeles presenter and choreographer Jamie Nichols. The festival premiered a recent choreography by Ms. Holt entitled, “Quintessence”. CCBallet was also recently selected to perform at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium as part of an evening presented by the Pasadena Dance Festival where the company performed excerpts from Ms. Holts works entitled, “Blind Journey”. In 2007 the full length version of “Blind Journey” was performed at the Janacek Conservatory in Ostrava, Czech Republic, under the auspices of the Prague International Ballet.

Formally operating under the name, California Theatrical Youth Ballet, the company had to change its name when the formation of the professional company, California Contemporary Ballet (CCBallet) was established in 2008. In an effort to continue the encouragement of young dancers in their pursuits toward a career in dance, CCBallet continues to establish a youth division within its organization, California Contemporary Youth Ballet. CCB is the resident company who partners with the affiliate school, California DanceArts, located in La Canada who provides members of the youth company a challenging training program for serious young dancers.

The school and company share one goal, "to nurture and encourage students professionally and to develop artists and audiences in the creativity, imagination and joy of dance." With the establishment of CCBallet and as a testament to the innovation that the company provides, dancers from the Academy and the community have found a home for their artistic expression and careers.

About CaliforniaDance Arts:
Founded in 1987 and dedicated to the tradition of ballet and the artistic expression of dance, California DanceArts and the California Contemporary Ballet provide the most progressive quality dance education and inspired theatrical experiences for its dancers, community and Southern California.

Its current location in La Cañada is nestled among several schools and recreational facilities. The studio features a sprung wood floor designed to prevent fatigue, 20-foot high ceilings geared for unobstructed jumping, wall mirrors and air conditioning. To illustrate its versatility, the studio is often turned into a theatre for intimate performances utilizing drop-down backdrops, theater stereo equipment, state of the art theater lighting and more.

The Academy’s dance curriculum has expanded over the years by providing classes for all ages, pre-school through adult. In particular, the school has established a reputation for providing dance training designed for the pre-professional ballet dancer transitioning to professional level, with small class sizes for individualized attention.
California DanceArts students have successfully secured scholarship awards for dance and theatre, gone onto television careers and Broadway style musicals as dancers, choreographers or directors. Students have entered performing arts schools and Universities and have been accepted to professional dance and ballet companies for career opportunities in dance.

About Erin Holt:
CDA Director and CCB Artistic Director and Choreographer, Erin Holt, has been teaching modern dance and classical ballet for more than 25 years and is a certified dance educator and member of Dance Masters of America.  She began her career at the prestigious Lobero Theater of Santa Barbara, Calif. as the Modern Dance child prodigy of former Martha Graham student Fawn Pickett. Holt has received personal instruction and mentoring in choreography and apprentice teacher training from Charles Russell of the Joffrey Ballet (Executive Assistant to Mr. Robert Joffrey) and became a principal dancer for his choreography.

Holt has been fortunate to study and perform with the companies and choreographers of the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Joffrey Ballet, the Utah Repertory Ballet, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, Allegro Ballet Florida and Momentum Dance Company. Groomed as a choreographer by her teachers, Holt is an award-winning choreographer for theater events, stage productions, competitions and ballets. Holt's versatile choreography ranges from classical ballet, contemporary ballet, neo classical, modern dance and jazz styles.