Arts and Entertainment

Ballet, chorale light up holidays

“To dance is to live, so breathe deeply and move forward with passion.” This is how Syble Bracken, artistic director of The Ballet Workshop, closes her opening statement on the home page of The Ballet Workshop’s website.

That statement embodies the vision, spirit and gifted teaching skills of Miss Syble. Dance is her kingdom and as I have watched her choreograph various productions, she strikes me more as a lovely queen surrounded in her art than the owner/operator of a dance studio.

With a smile she can conjure many emotions in her dancers. Her silence can speak volumes and her raised voice is usually laced with words of praise and encouragement. I admire her greatly and believe her to be a most wonderful human being. She is presented with love and respect from her students, which she freely returns.

At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 11, 12, 17, and 18, as well at 3 p.m. on Dec. 11, 12, 18 and 19, you will see the Plateau Ballet Repertory Theatre, choreographed by Bracken, perform “Nutcracker” at the  Enumclaw High School auditorium.  For seat availability call The Ballet Workshop at 360-825-2196 or visit

Youth and adults bring this beloved, traditional holiday dance production alive in front of your eyes. I usually go more than once, simply because I can’t stay away from such beautiful art. I have been brought to tears more than once admiring the talent and passion of this performance.

I was thinking about “Nutcracker’s” performance dates while shopping the other day when I ran into my dear friend Sandy Bryan in a local grocery store. Sandy and I began our friendship 33 years ago when we helped found the Buckley Enumclaw Community Chorus Organization, now known as the Cascade Foothills Chorale,

I hadn’t seen Sandy for quite a while and we stood for an hour next to our parked shopping carts between the wine and produce catching up on family status and what we’ve been up to for the last couple of years.

After nearly an hour had passed, the gentleman clerk supplying fresh bananas and apples jokingly offered to bring us a couple of chairs. Sandy and I share the beauty of phenomenal musical performances on stage. I must clearly state, one of the greatest treasures one can take away from community involvement in the arts is the gift of true and lasting friendships. It takes commitment, vision, endurance, nerves of steel and a heart of a lion to follow through with a performance. It doesn’t matter if you dance, sing, act or all of the above. It takes great courage to perform on a stage. Taking on such a challenge with someone you can call a friend is very special.

Sandy is one of the most beautiful individuals I know. Love of singing for our community brought us together many years ago and I will be forever grateful for that. I know many people who have made treasured friends through the venue of visual and performing arts. The human element of friendship rounds out a community and bonds its citizens together bringing fine examples to share within our infrastructure as a community. When it is all said and done, friendships like I have with Sandy and others from participating in performing arts on the Plateau is a gift I will cherish forever. I say this as factually as my cat is purring in my lap while I type.

Cascade Foothills Chorale will be performing its winter concert, “The Darkness of Winter; The Light of the Holidays,” directed by Jeremy Mathias, at the White River High School theater, 26928 120th St. E. in Buckley. Performance times will be 7 p.m. Dec. 11 and 2:30 p.m. Dec 12.

I think most people recognize when they need a break from the rat race, politics, alarm clocks and the general hassles of daily life. By attending a couple of local holiday productions you will lift your spirit automatically. If you long for a traditional holiday celebration, the performing arts are ready to help you start one. Come see and hear what it’s all about. Start your own tradition by attending a local performance.

From myself and my artistic family of friends, we wish you all happy holidays for 2010.

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