Suzi Starheim | Staff Writer
Children as young as age 10 will be in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall at 7 p.m. tonight dancing in classical and contemporary ballet pieces for audience members of all ages.
The Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet returns to Chautauqua for the final performance in this season’s Family Entertainment Series.
Although most dance schools train students in a variety of dance forms such as ballet, tap and jazz, the CRYB trains dancers only in ballet. Elizabeth Bush, administrative director of CRYB, said this is unusual for a dance school, especially one in a small area such as Jamestown, N.Y.
Tonight’s 45-minute program will include a classical piece, a contemporary piece and several excerpts from The Nutcracker, which CRYB stages in full every December.
The show will open with the “Odalisques” from “Le Corsaire,” performed by Brittany Bush, Kym Paterniti and Gina Smeragliuolo.
“We do find that when we perform (at Chautauqua), the audience likes the traditional ballet,” Bush said.
The Nutcracker excerpts, showcasing the younger dancers, will follow, including the Arabian, Russian, Spanish, Soldier Doll and Sugar Plum Fairy dances.
Bush said this aspect of the performance is particularly special for a summer audience, as the Nutcracker is usually reserved for Christmastime.
The final piece CRYB will perform is a contemporary ballet work called “Gypsy Suite,” set to music from “The Red Violin” and choreographed by Brittany Bush.
Elizabeth Bush said this year, dancers as young as 10 will perform in the Nutcracker excerpts.
“In the past it’s been only older, performance-segment students or young faculty,” she said. “This is a chance to give the younger kids a taste of what it’s like to perform. It’s very much a professional atmosphere for them.”
Bush said this also benefits children watching the performance.
“It’s nice to let the younger audience members see performers their own age,” she said. “It’s fun for the kids in the audience as well as the young dancers. For us, it’s an opportunity to bring the art of classical ballet to a younger audience and a more diverse audience. It’s a good learning experience.”
The roster of dancers performing in tonight’s show includes Katie Baudo, Brittany Bush, James Gocke, Peter Gocke, Kaitlin Healy, Rebecca Josephson, Madeline Jones, Emily Rose Mager, Monica Marsh, Kym Paterniti, Gina Smeragliuolo, Megan Stefanik, Shawn Sprankle and Kortney Young.
CRYB members have been rehearsing diligently for tonight’s performance, Artistic Director Monika Alch said.She hopes tonight’s performance will reignite people’s passion for classical ballet and establish a love for the art in the younger audience members coming to watch tonight’s performance with their families.
Bush said exposing children to the art form is very important to CRYB.
“To show (families) classical ballet and the excitement and passion of it and to expose it to children is what’s really important to us,” she said.