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Sacramento Ballet visits Shriners Hospital for children

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 the Sacramento Ballet once again visited the Shriners Hospital for Children located at 2425 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento. The Ballet typically makes special arrangements to present an entertaining and informative performance at Shriners four to five times each year. This first 2014 demonstration brought out ten dancers to talk briefly about the history of ballet, introduce the dancers, demonstrate exercises and then perform a few excerpts from their upcoming performances in "Wild Sweet Love."

Sacramento Ballet visit the Shriners Hospitals for Children
Susan Raines
Sacramento Ballet dancers at Shriner
Susan Raines

The afternoon visit was completed with an invitation to the attending children to dance with the ballet experts. The invitation required a bit of coaxing which ultimately resulted in the stealing of the show by young Sergio who hit the Atrium floor with his break dancing moves. The Sacramento Ballet presentation was followed by a photo shoot which offered each patient the opportunity to have a photo taken with the dancers. This invitation was clearly more popular than the encouragement to try some dance moves. Most of the attendees took turns getting their photos taken including wee size babes with mothers, charming young men quick-witted enough to request a pic with just the lady dancers, and patients in wheel chairs and rolling beds.

The afternoon was an informative delight for the ""young burn patients and kids suffering severe orthopedic injuries." The key speaker, Christopher Nachtrab, made reference to the historical fact that although today we often associate ballet with beautiful, graceful ballerinas, the dance was initially for men only and was typically for the wealthy and elite. Women were not allowed to participate in ballet until years later. Today the dance remains extremely physically strenuous and difficult, requiring years to master to a professional level. Some of the visiting ballet dancers started at the age of three and continue to practice Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The Northern California Shriners Hospital can accommodate 80 patients and is 1 of 22 existing facilities that works from morning through night to uphold the Shriner mission to "Provide the highest quality care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs within a compassionate, family-centered and collaborative care environment." You can find out more about the Shriner Hospitals for Children's mission, various locations and other details at their official website here.

The Sacramento Ballet will be performing "Wild Sweet Love" which is an "evening that includes three complete ballets dedicated to love in all of its complexities, on February 13 through the 16th at the Community Center Theater." You can find out more about these upcoming performances in the attached video or at the official Sacramento Ballet website here. Please see the attached slideshow of the Jan. 14 Sacramento Ballet visit with the Shriner Hospital children. The visiting ballet dancers included Jarrett Reimes, Richard Smith, Alex Stewart, Iven Johnson, Maggie Rupp, Karen Wing, Mate Szentes, Christine Nankervis, Christopher Nachtrab, and Alexandra Cunningham currently recovering from a torn leg ligament.

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