Beer & Ballet may sound like the start of a bad country song but that couldn't be further from the truth. Bakersfield City Ballet is combining two of Bakersfield's favorite things — a night out on the town and philanthropy — at Lengthwise Brewery on Saturday to help support performance arts in the community.
This name may be relatively new in the community, but the nonprofit's organizers and mission are not. With roots stretching to 1993, when Sanford Smith and Cindy Trueblood founded Bakersfield Civic Dance Company, the organization has operated previously as Bakersfield Regional Ballet and Imagine Ballet Company, being re-envisioned as Bakersfield City.
Its goal is to be the premier pre-professional ballet company in Bakersfield, providing its company members with the highest level of training and serving the community through performing arts education.
"The main focus of our company is to provide outreach in our community for love of dance in our youth," Erica Ueberroth, BCB's artistic director.
"Bakersfield is known for our agriculture not our other cultures, like art," Ueberroth said. "We want to change that conversation, inform them that there are more things to do in town."
Ueberroth, along with ballet mistresses Ann Conrad and Alicia Angelini, aim to inspire and enrich the experience of the company's current 23 dancers, ranging in age from 12 to 18.
Along with preparing for the spring performance — Ethereal Visions at the Fox Theater on May 3 — the company has also begun offering a monthly class at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County's Armstrong Youth Center on ballet basics and movement. Ueberroth said the classes will continue through May and may extend into the summer, depending on the availability of company members who will be preparing for BCB's next season.
Saturday's fundraiser at Lengthwise will help raise funds for the May performance with a goal of $10,000 set for costumes and choreographer for that show as well as continued outreach into the community.
Beer and Ballet is meant to bring ballet to a larger local audience, Ueberroth said, allowing those who know more about craft beer than performing arts to possibly find some new interests.
She said "We thought creating an event that combined the two interests could bring awareness about our community’s ballet company, and provide entertainment to both the ballet and beer enthusiasts, thus hopefully gaining a new patron of the arts."
The evening will include two brief performances, a movement from Beaucoup Des Cordes, choreographed by Ueberroth, and another from Remembrances choreographed by Angelini.
Prior to the performance, Andrea Hansen, president of Kern Dance Alliance, will discuss why arts are so important for the community.
Dinner will be provided by Lengthwise, consisting of green salad, pulled pork, barbecue chicken, gourmet mac and cheese and homemade beer focaccia bread. Guests will also receive a souvenir pint glass and drink ticket good for Centennial ale, Golden ale, Citra Simcoe IPA or any of the brewery's other beers.
There will be a silent auction featuring a signed pointe shoe from Tiler Peck and an assortment of themed baskets, including one with wines from Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant and a coffee one with items from Lengthwise, Rig City Roasting and Starbucks.