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Bakersfield City Ballet brewing up big arts plans with fundraiser

Bakersfield City Ballet misses you, Bakersfield. And chances are you miss them too. Luckily the upcoming Pints En Pointe fundraiser is aiming to bring everyone together for an afternoon of dance and community support.

The city's premier pre-professional ballet company, like many local artists, has found ways to stay active and creative during the pandemic, including Curbside Ballet, which brought dancers out to patrons for socially distanced outdoor performances. Of course, nothing matches performing in a theater.

"It's been a hard year not having access to the live stage," said Erica Ueberroth, BCB's artistic director. "It evokes such strong emotions. Whatever the intention of that performance is, it can make people feel something. Feel connected, feel inspired. That's what the arts can do and that's really powerful."

With restrictions easing and more reopening, Ueberroth said the company is planning for the next season, which requires, along with creativity and dedication, the community. That's where the fundraiser comes in. 

The April 24 event, formerly known as Beer & Ballet, is adapting to the times with an open-house style outdoor gathering at a private residence. Attendees can enjoy a performance each hour from BCB dancers, sample craft beer from Dionysus Brewing Co. and Crusader Brewing as well as wine from San Rucci Winery and Top Winery in Paso Robles. There will also be heavy appetizers including beef sliders, mac and cheese balls and more.

Guests can also bid on silent auction items or purchase tickets for the drawing of gift baskets with themes such as movie night, coffee lovers, game night in, wine lovers and more.

"We try to cover the whole market of what anybody would be looking for," Ueberroth said of the baskets that can range in value from $20 to $150.

The basket drawing also allows people who may not want to stay for the entire event to still have a chance to win. (Silent auction winners are required to be present.)

Pints En Pointe's fundraising goal is an ambitious $25,000 but Ueberroth said that reflects the nonprofit's passion for the arts.

"It's a very lofty goal, but we're dreaming big. That's a little under what our normal season would cost."

And company members are ready to get back on an actual stage.

"What we're hoping for is to have the opportunity to be in a theater," Ueberroth said. "If it's not full capacity, we’re OK with that. As artists, we’re just desperate to be back in the theater with the lights, with backdrops, with costumes and all of that good stuff."

Along with performances, Bakersfield City Ballet aims to continue growing, fostering and retaining local dancers, Ueberroth said.

"We have a lot of talent in Bakersfield and I think it’s important to share that talent with the community and keep that talent in the community. We're really excited about how previous seasons have gone and (the possibility of) moving into a professional realm and paying our dancers."

Creating jobs for the arts and fostering the love of dance locally remains vital to BCB's mission.

"There is a reason to succeed in the arts and stay in Bakersfield. We want to reach a wide audience. If we can get enough community support, we can all enjoy this as a community.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.