CRYB brings youth to classical moves

A dancer from the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet performs in a previous season’s Family Entertainment Series appearance in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. Daily file photo.

Jessie Cadle | Staff Writer

The Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet brings youth back to classical dance. Their classical dancers range from children to pre-professional, and the school reminds audiences of the values and beauty of classical dance.

“It’s important for our mission to keep classical dance vibrant and to expose children to classical dance,” said Elizabeth Bush, CRYB’s executive director. “It’s nice to show younger children classical dance performed by children and teenagers.”

CRYB takes the stage at 7 p.m. tonight in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall as part of the Family Entertainment Series.

The Jamestown-based school brings a number of performances with a variety of dancers.

The tradition of bringing CRYB to the grounds is special this year, because Jordan Leeper, a former dancer at CRYB, is now a member of the professional North Carolina Dance Theatre.

“It’s really exciting to see him in the Amphitheater with the company,” Bush said. “That is why we are doing what we do.”

But the ties to Chautauqua do not end with Leeper. Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, NCDT artistic director, served as artistic adviser for CRYB in the 1990s.

Tonight, the school that thrived under Bonnefoux will present three pieces: excerpts from “Carnival of the Animals,” “Spring by Verdi” and excerpts from “Sleeping Beauty.”

All the pieces come from those showcased in CRYB’s Spring Gala. The first, excerpts from “Carnival of the Animals,” includes: “Pianistes,” performed by the youngest dancers, Maya Swanson and Gracie McMillan; “Fast Animals,” performed by Madeline Jones and Shawn Sprankle; and “The Dying Swan,” performed by Gina Smeragliuolo.

“Spring by Verdi” will be performed by intermediate students Isabel Bursch, Amelia Dolce, Kaitlin Healy, Lauren Hendrick, Emily Rose Mager, Aditi-Anjali Oza, Megan Stefanik and Shawn Sprankle.

Excerpts from “Sleeping Beauty” will feature the Fairy and Aurora solos. Rebecca Josephson, Lydia Everett, Kortney Constantino-Young, Isabel Bursch, Kaitlin Healy and Madeline Jones will perform the Fairy solos. Molly Vine and Gina Smeragliuolo will perform the Aurora solos.

CRYB Artistic Director Monika Alch will describe each piece to the audience. The more informal performance will end with time for children from the audience to mingle and talk with the dancers.

“This is always a fun performance for us,” Bush said. “We enjoy going to Chautauqua, because it’s … always packed with a fun and appreciative audience.”