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Brew, Brats & Ballet Highlights New Collaborative Performances this Spring

Published March 29, 2024

Brew, Brats & Ballet Highlights New Collaborative Performances this Spring

by Rosine Bena

Spring is always an exciting season for Sierra Nevada Ballet (SNB) because it offers the opportunity for the company to collaborate with many different choreographic artists and to create new, innovative projects for SNB’s Brew, Brats & Ballet Program at the Reno Little Theater in May and Brewery Arts Center in April. This year is particularly eventful as BBB not only highlights the work of eight different choreographers; this production marks the first collaborative performance of members of the new Northern Nevada Performing Arts Collective.

The NNPAC is a collective arts hub at 500 E. Moana Lane in Reno. Renovations are just being completed for this fabulous state-of-the-art facility which not only houses the SNB professional company and the SNB Academy but also several other non-profit arts groups; it will also house a small theater. SNB is partnering with Steinway Piano Gallery and Steinway Society Music School; Sierra School of Performing Arts; Silver State Storytellers (filmmakers); Dr. Jayson Weir and Dance PT Carrie Cameron and Healthy Performers Nevada (offering free medical care to all performers in Nevada); T&L Media (arts marketing); Satori Dancewear, and local visual artists to create a dynamic arts center.

Sara Weir with husband pianist Jayson Weir

In celebration of the formation of this new NNPAC, SNB has collaborated with the Steinway Piano Gallery and Steinway Society Music School on two of the choreographic offerings on this year’s BBB featuring the live piano accompaniment of two talented pianists: Jayson Weir and Albina Asryan.

Witness is the inspired choreographic work of the husband and wife team of Sara and Jayson Weir. Sara is a principal dancer with SNB and has shown a fine choreographic talent. Sara credits her husband with part of the inspiration for her new work for BBB: “Jayson’s playing is my inspiration and his love of this musical piece gave me the courage to try my hand at choreography.”

Jayson Weir started piano lessons as a young boy but fell in love with it at age 12 when he started studying with Teresita Roig, a Piano Conservatory graduate. He quickly found a great admiration for Rachmaninoff and worked hard to master his Russian scales. In college he trained with Robert Wood, the renowned director of the ballet accompaniment program at University of Utah, and quickly got a job as a ballet accompanist and was immediately thrown into playing for company class, quickly becoming the company’s main pianist until he graduated.

Weir toured as accompanist with Ballet West and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and was head accompanist for Regional Dance America CRAFT of Choreography Workshop. He has since participated in many RDA Festivals including the 2022 and 2023 RDA Pacific Regional Festival in Reno. Since relocating to Nevada, Weir returned to his piano studies with Ron Williams, one of the founders of the UNR School of Music. Williams graciously transcribed the version of Jerome Kern’s Poor Pierrot that Jayson and the SNB company will perform on this year’s BBB program. Weir is a major champion for the SNB ballet company and regularly acts as piano accompanist for the SNB company class. Jayson is excited to spearhead this beautiful collaboration for the upcoming BBB piece he’ll perform with choreography by his wife.

SNB Co. with pianist Albina Asryan

SNB Associate Artistic Director Ananda Bena-Weber felt an immediate connection with Albina Asryan. Asryan was born in the former USSR and Bena-Weber majored in the Russian language in college, visiting the country twice. Ananda said, “As soon as I met Albina, I felt as if we had been friends for years. Our love of classical art, Russian culture, and our experiences as female artists struggling to produce quality art in the present difficult social climate in the world are very similar.”

Asryan fell in love with the piano at age seven in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (southern region of the former Soviet Union) and completed her training at the National Conservatory of Turkmenistan where she graduated with the qualifications of Piano Instructor, Concert Performer, Performer of Chamber Music, and Concertmaster. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Music Performance and a combined Bachelor and Master of Arts Degree in Music Performance and Education. A winner of national competitions, Asryan has performed in Europe, Asia, and the United States and (inspired by her daughter’s dance talent) is a self-taught piano accompanist who has worked as ballet accompanist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Presently, she teaches at the Steinway Music School in Reno; is an active member of Music Teachers National Association, and works at UNR as a pianist and piano instructor. 

Ananda Bena-Weber with pianist Albina Asyran

Asryan continues to share her experience as a performer in numerous concerts, recitals, festivals, and competitions. She told us, “It is a great joy and honor for me to work with SNB and Ananda Bena-Weber on an original piece of choreography. Ananda is such a talented artist, and working together is very inspiring. I am excited to perform Danza de la Donosa by Ananda on SNB’s Brew, Brats & Ballet program.”

SNB is honored to collaborate with the Steinway Piano Gallery and the Steinway Society Music School on our new Brew, Brats & Ballet program.

For information about SNB, the NNPAC or Brew, Brats & Ballet call 775-360-8663 or visit

For tickets for Brew, Brats & Ballet at the Brewery Arts Center: 775-883-1976 or visit

For tickets for Brew, Brats & Ballet at the Reno Little Theater: 775-813-8900 or visit

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