Skip to main content

Style Magazine

Placer Theatre Ballet

Apr 01, 2014 03:54PM ● By Style

Photos by Dante Fontana - © Style Media Group

by Kelly Soderlund

The story of Placer Theatre Ballet (PTB), which will premiere its first production of Sleeping Beauty at the beginning of next month, is a bit of a fairy tale itself. Founded in 1998 by former Artistic Director Pat Colgate, the non-profit youth ballet organization presented its first production of The Nutcracker that same winter—using costumes Colgate constructed from thrift store purchases.

Now in its 17th year and headed by Artistic Director Shea Wing—who took over when Colgate retired in 2011—PTB performs two polished ballets a year, featuring more than 100 local dancers in each production who wear an array of beautifully crafted costumes. To date, PTB’s productions have been performed in front of more than 45,000 patrons.  

Dedicated to the joy of storytelling through the art of dance, while staying true to its mission of being a pre-professional company for young dancers, PTB strives to bring the magic of ballet to everyone. Without an attached ballet school, it’s certainly unique in the region—PTB holds open auditions that attract dancers training at various studios throughout the greater Sacramento and Placer regions. PTB’s performances have become a tradition for patrons seeking a high-quality ballet theatre experience. Every December, The Nutcracker spans seven performances across two weekends, as well as a weekday matinée performance for school children. PTB’s spring productions offer fanciful theater interpretations of fairy tales in an enticing ballet.

As such, Sleeping Beauty, PTB’s first new ballet in three years (and since Wing took over as artistic director) is a whimsical addition to his PTB repertoire. Audiences familiar with Sleeping Beauty the fairy tale, but not the ballet, will be surprised to see characters from other fairy tales make an appearance: Cinderella and her mice, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, and Little Bo Peep and her sheep.

Jane Weaver, a parent volunteer assisting with publicity, whose seven-year-old daughter, Elyse, is participating in her fifth Placer Ballet production, says her daughter has cherished her time with the company both onstage and off.  “PTB provides the unique opportunity for dancers to improve their dance technique and also stresses the importance of telling an enchanting story through dance, music and expression,” says Weaver. “As a parent, I enjoy how beautifully choreographed and well-staged each production is, and it’s gratifying to see my daughter feel a genuine sense of accomplishment when performing in front of hundreds in the audience.”

Andrea McAfee, another parent volunteer for publicity, agrees, stating that PTB operates as a family, relying on an army of parent volunteers who bring their experience and expertise to all facets of production—from sewing and stage direction to fund-raising and publicity. By participating in every aspect of the production, PTB’s cast, board of directors and family members forge long-lasting friendships. “Nothing is more inspiring than seeing a group of hardworking, talented and dedicated dancers achieving their dreams on stage.”

Visit for more information.

Don't Miss It!

Sleeping Beauty

WHEN: May 3 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and May 4 at noon and 4 p.m.
WHERE: Placer High School Theater
(High and Agard Streets in Auburn)
*Call for discounts for 15 or more seats for a single performance, or for scouting troops attending as a group outing.