Here's How to Choreograph a Perfect Weekend in Lake Tahoe

Actor Holly Curran appears on stage at the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival
Actor Holly Curran appears on stage at the Lake Tahoe Dance Festival | Courtesy of The Lake Tahoe Dance Festival
Casey Hatfield-Chiotti

Lovers of the arts are summoned to North Lake Tahoe’s scenic California shoreline this July for a world-class dance festival in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

What’s happening?

Dancers perform ‘Greek Dreams’ by choreographer Erick Hawkins

Out-of-towners head to Lake Tahoe for winter skiing, summer lake fun and now dance. Lake Tahoe Dance Festival (27-30 July 2021) directors Constantine Baecher and Christin Hanna, who met in 1998 during the American Ballet Theatre summer program in New York, have quietly been turning Tahoe into a world-class destination for dance since 2013.

Traci Nicole Finch and Stephen Hanna impress with their strength and balance

The festival celebrates classical, modern and contemporary dance, and offers graceful evenings of main-stage performances on a lakefront stage in North Lake Tahoe. Festival-goers can also participate in demonstrations, view art installations and listen to talks with the artists. Performers include dancers from Hanna’s own ballet school, Lake Tahoe Dance Collective; we’ll also see renowned dancers and choreographers such as the principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, Ashley Bouder, and the Broadway star of Billy Elliot the Musical, Stephen Hanna.

Expect to see works by exciting, young choreographers and reimagined classics from legendary ballet choreographers, such as George Balanchine, Lester Horton and Erick Hawkins. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to sashay over to Lake Tahoe, with our collection of oh-so elegant hotels – bookable on Culture Trip.

Dancers provide the visuals for a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2

Who’s there?

Christin Hanna performed with the Nevada Festival Ballet and had an active freelance dance career with Oakland Ballet, New York City Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet. “Residents and visitors alike enjoy the intimate performances, far closer than at a large opera house or theater in a big city, with a diverse program of dance styles and backgrounds on display,” she says. “The shared experience of live performance is always treasured at the festival.”

 Christopher Charles McDaniel |
Erik Wagner |
 Stephen Hanna |

Don’t miss

We may not all be prima ballerinas, but we can get out and move – and there are few places better to do it than alpine Lake Tahoe. The 3mi (4.8km) East Shore Trail winds along a section of Nevada lakefront that was once difficult to access. The wide walking and biking path connects Incline Village and scenic Sand Harbor State Park, ticking off lakeshore beaches and coves along the way.

Take a trip to enjoy the natural beauty of Sand Harbor State Park

Tahoe Via Ferrata is run by guiding service Alpenglow Expeditions, which helps adventurers summit some of the highest peaks in the world. Via ferratas (or iron roads) – popular in Italy and Austria – use steel cables, rungs and ladders to help you assail the slopes and provide more protection than typical rock climbing. The Tahoe edition includes multiple guided routes, such as the Loophole Route that climbs up granite towers, traverses a cable bridge and takes in views of the lake and mountains.

Next, get a dose of historic-house hopping on the other end of the lake. In addition to a beautiful green inlet, Emerald Bay State Park has the 38-room Vikingsholm mansion: a fine example of Scandinavian architecture. Just west, the Tallac Historic Site is where many monied Californians built their rustic yet luxurious summer estates in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In summer months, take a tour here to visit the Pop-Baldwin Estates: log-cabin style mansions, with beautifully landscaped grounds. Quite the encore, we’d say…

The Vikingsholm mansion displays the best of Scandinavian design

Keen to make a weekend of it? Browse our curated collection of hotels available over Lake Tahoe Dance Festival – bookable on Culture Trip.

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