Bonnie Bonham of La Cañada didn't quite know what to think when Erin Holt, artistic director for La Cañada-based California Theatrical Youth Ballet, took her by the hand and guided her through her first rehearsal as a dancer-actress in the opening scene of the company's seasonal ballet "The Snow Queen," to be performed this month at the Glendale Community College Theatre.
Bonham's two children, Kate and Jacob, ages 6 and 9, attended the show's auditions held in September and each child was successful in securing several performing roles.
"I was only dropping my children off for their rehearsal," she explained. "And now, suddenly, I'm part of the cast!" When learning of his mother's decision to accept the role, Jacob Bonham, who will be appearing this year in his first featured role as the Gypsy Boy, was most encouraging. He smiled and said, "Now's your chance, Mom!"
The Bonhams are not the only family for whom The Snow Queen is a family affair. Virtually every member of the Morrison family of Pasadena has been totally immersed in the production each year since its debut in 1998.
This December will mark Christine Morrison's third appearance as a member of the Snow Queen cast. In addition, she has dedicated countless hours as one of the costume designers and seamstresses for the production and also serves as the Company's treasurer.
Her husband, Bill Morrison, has graciously and tirelessly worked backstage each year, moving sets. Their twin sons, age 17, have grown up in the production. Evan Morrison has been a member of the cast as well as giving a hand backstage, while his brother, Ryan Morrison, has moved up through the ranks to earn a spot as a principal dancer for the ballet company. Ryan will perform the demanding role of the Prince for a second season.
"One of the things I like about being part of the production is that my whole family is involved," said Ryan Morrison. "We look forward to it all year as something we can all do together."
Now in its eighth season, California Theatrical Youth Ballet is proud that it can feature the talents of family members.
Through the years, both the musical score and the choreography have been enhanced, as well as the custom-made costumes, elaborate lighting and set design. The delightful ballet celebrates the classic story written by Hans Christian Andersen.
Principal dancers have been given new casting challenges and professional guest artists will appear, giving a new perspective for this year's audiences.
With sold-out performances over the last several years, the company enjoys the intimate venue provided by Glendale Community College, a venue that the show's producers feel best showcases their dancers.
California Theatrical Youth Ballet's production of The Snow Queen will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16; 2 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17; and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. Tickets are $18 and $13 in advance, $20 and $15 at the door when available. For tickets and information, call 790-7924.