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Popular STARS program postponed

The Union StaffDancers take the stage during a past year's Reach for the STARS program, which raised funds for the Nevada County Arts Council. More than 300 dancers and musicians performed in 2001.
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Nevada County Arts Council Executive Director Penelope Curtis wants to dispel rumors she’s heard in the last couple of weeks.

These rumors imply that proceeds from last year’s Reach for the STARS performances were purposefully not awarded to designated groups and that the dance extravaganza is dead.



Neither rumor is true, says Curtis.




But she said the organization’s 11th annual Reach for the STARS performance won’t occur next month, and payouts are pending.

Reach for the STARS was put on hold because the NCAC board of directors wants to review what direction the performances should take, Curtis said. A restructured Reach for the STARS will return next year, she promised.

“We had 300 dancers last year,” Curtis said. “It’s overload; it’s become a recital the past few years. But the first Reach for the STARS were intended to showcase the best dancers in the area.”

Nevada County dancers of all ages and levels volunteer to be in the well-attended performances, a fund-raiser for the arts council’s educational programs.

The $3,000 in proceeds from last year has not been disbursed yet.

“At this moment, we need to work on new guidelines for giving out scholarships,” said Curtis, who has been with the arts council for 16 months. “We have a $3,000 scholarship fund set aside at A.G. Edwards ready to go.”

Community members hope Reach for the STARS continues.

When Nevada City School of the Arts Foundation Executive Director Gretchen Bond ran into Curtis Thursday, she asked if her school could collaborate with the arts council to keep the performances going.

“Reach for the STARS influenced dance for more than a decade in Nevada County,” said George Jayne, the event’s artistic director for five years. “We watched dance grow every year in number of kids participating, techniques of dance and expansion of choreography.”

Jayne, whose Sierra Dance Institute students have participated at every Reach for the STARS, is disappointed there’s no show this year.

His wife, Beth Jayne, who also prepared the SDI students for every show and was its emcee for several years, understands the arts council might want to revise the Reach for the STARS format after 10 years.

But she hopes the large number of participants are included in next year’s show.

“I don’t think having too many people is a negative. That’s a good thing,” Jayne said. “Success means more kids, more choices, more responsibilities, more of everything. More kids means more participation and more bucks at the box office.”

— To join a committee on restructuring Reach for the STARS, call Curtis at 271-5955 or e-mail her at


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