Incline Star Follies, showtime for Incline's talent

18 Mar 2009 - 11:12am

North Lake Tahoe Bonanza

by Kyle Magin

Amie Serrano, a senior who has been in the Follies for several years, practices her part in "Footloose" during a rehearsal earlier this month.

Amie Serrano, a senior who has been in the Follies for several years, practices her part in "Footloose" during a rehearsal earlier this month.
Bonanza Photo - Jen Schmidt

Nathan Shuey lip-syncs to "Footloose" during Incline Star Follies rehearsal for the high school students Monday evening at Incline Elementary School.

Nathan Shuey lip-syncs to "Footloose" during Incline Star Follies rehearsal for the high school students Monday evening at Incline Elementary School.
Bonana Photo- Jen Schmidt

Some of the children in the 2009 Incline Star Follies are veterans.

They are confident, take Karen Osborne’s choreography instruction well and have no problems with opening night jitters or showing off in front of a packed house of parents, peers, teachers and strangers.

Others are first-timers and look a little timid — especially when they are first allowed in the show as fifth-graders.

They look to each side to make sure their dance steps are right, to make sure they are in line and to make sure, heaven forbid, they don’t run into a high schooler.

All of them, however, are the stars of the April 3 and 4 show, say the 10-year event’s organizers.

“The kids are the real talent,” said Ron Stichter, a Follies organizer. “Us adults are just window dressing, we move like robots, they’re the ones everyone comes to see.”

The children — who are the main beneficiaries of the public education fundraiser — sign up and are selected by a casting committee.

Organizer Kathie Goldberg said students are selected without regards to talent or ability. Instead the committee looks to give children a chance to participate.

And, they bring in ticket-buyers.

Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of students routinely make up a large portion of the Follies audience.

“We always tell the kids that the people in the audience are mostly there to see them,” Goldberg said.

For some students, like Incline High School junior Eduardo Rodriguez, the thrice-weekly rehearsals are old hat.

“When I first did it in eighth grade, I was kind of shy, kind of scared,” Rodriguez said. “Now it’s pretty fun, I mostly do it because I like to dance.”

Others, like Incline Elementary fifth grader Vanessa Andrade, said learning the dance moves isn’t nearly as hard as avoiding the dancers.

“The dance is really fun, really easy,” Andrade said. “You just have to worry about not crashing into people.”

Fellow fifth grader Mia Severance, in her first year in the show, said she was following in the dance-steps of her siblings.

“I wanted to be in Follies because my sisters were,” Severance said. “The only hard part is getting where you need to be during some of the songs.”

Some of the oldest participants — seniors at IHS who will join the adult world within months — say joining the Follies cast is important as a community event.

“It’s a good fundraiser and joins the efforts of a lot of the community, everything goes to help schools,” said Aziza Seykota. “I think it’s pretty cool to be in, too, it’s fun to perform in front of everybody.”

Serena Joseph, another IHS senior, said Follies has always been on her radar.

“I never got to do it when I was younger, I moved away before fifth grade and didn’t get to be in it,” Joseph said. “The reason I’m mostly doing it is I love (choreographer) Karen (Osborne).”

Senior Aime Serrano dispatched some sage advice for fourth graders aspiring for parts in next year’s show, especially the young ladies.

“I would tell them to do it, just don’t wear too much glitter,” Serrano said. “I did it when I was younger and there was a lady giving out glitter. You don’t want to get carried away and put on too much.”

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