Tahoe dancer stars in ballet | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe dancer stars in ballet

Nancy Hayden
Provided to the TribuneRita Moreno talks with Shannon Roberts about the role of Anita after the San Francisco Ballet Company's premiere performance of "West Side Story Suite."

Shannon Roberts, who is in her fourth season with the San Francisco Ballet Company, is dancing and singing the role of Anita in Jerome Robbins’ “West Side Story Suite.” The show will continue through March 20 at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.

Roberts, 19, the daughter of Gerald and Laurie Roberts, grew up on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. She danced at the Marcia Sarosik Dance Studio and Dance Visions until she was 14, when she had an opportunity to study with the San Francisco Ballet Company. At the age of 16, she was hired as the youngest member of the company and found herself living a dream that has taken her to Paris, New York and Iceland on tour.

Rita Moreno, who won a galaxy of awards for portraying Anita in the movie version of “West Side Story,” was in the audience on opening night. She leaped to her feet to lead the applause when Roberts sang and strutted her way through “America.”

“I kept thinking I was looking at me. And when she got that huge hand, I was thinking it was me,” Moreno said of Roberts’ performance.

According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Shannon Roberts sashayed through a rendition of ‘America’ to make even Rita Moreno proud – and let rip a wild and natural voice – as Anita.”

The San Francisco Ballet, America’s oldest professional ballet company, is in its 75th year.

Tickets to “West Side Story Suite” range from $15 to $235. For tickets and dates, call (415) 865-2000 or visit http://www.sfballet.org.

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