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Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet
he Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet has been hard at work preparing for their annual production of The Nutcracker under the direction of Monika Alch. This beloved ballet has become a staple of our community and you won’t want to miss this year’s performances. As the premier school for classical ballet training in our region, CRYB strives to bring the highest level of artistry to our local stages. No detail is too small in this production, from impressive sets to sumptuous costumes, The Nutcracker graces the stage of the historic Reg Lenna Center for the Arts like no other holiday performance in our region.
The Nutcracker is a story of holiday joy and the most magical of childhood dreams. This production wraps excitement, wonder, and a little bit of magic into one spectacular performance that the whole family is guaranteed to enjoy. There’s something for everyone, from a fancy holiday party to an intense battle, a breathtaking snowstorm, and a land of sweets. To top it all off, this year’s public performances will feature a stunning pair of professional dancers, Kirsten Evans and Alex Lantz from Festival Ballet Providence, as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. This year will mark the pair’s return to Jamestown, lucky audiences may recall their radiant performance in the same roles from 2016.
The true gem of this show is the cast of local dancers and community members. This year’s production turns the spotlight on young artists from the Greater Chautauqua Region and also showcases dancers from Erie, PA in an exciting collaboration with the Patterson School of Ballet. Roles including Dew Drop, Lead Mirliton, and the Arabian Solo will all be performed by advanced students. The dedication and talent of these dancers shines through as they take to the stage like true professionals.
The story of The Nutcracker cannot be told without its leading players, Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. This year, the role of Clara will be performed by CRYB advanced dancer Gracie Watkins. Gracie has studied with CRYB for six years and has attended summer programs at Chautauqua Institution and at the Rock School in Philadelphia. The Nutcracker Prince will be portrayed by Yahir Mc Faline, also an advanced student at CRYB and a student at JHS.
Other cast members include Annie Johnson (CRYB) who has spent two summers studying at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and will be dancing as the Lead Mirliton as well as performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy at the Friday morning performance for area schools. Dariah Strickland, a student of the Patterson School of Ballet, will be charming audiences as this year’s Arabian soloist, and the Waltz of the Flowers will be led by Madeleine Leenders (CRYB) as the Dew Drop. The corps de ballet will be filled out by CRYB and Patterson dancers together in a display of beauty and precision.
This year’s performances will also include appearances from local guest artists. Michael Patterson, Artistic Director of The Patterson School of Ballet and former dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet, will feature as Herr Drosselmeyer. Area choreographer Rudi Andalora takes to the stage first as the Rat King and later as the beloved Mother Ginger. CRYB alumna and recent Point Park University graduate Megan Stefanik will feature as the Snow Queen.
Public performances are Saturday, December 10th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 11th at 3:00 pm at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. There will also be a special morning performance for area schools on Friday, December 9th at 10:00 am. Tickets are now on sale for all performances with prices ranging from $25-$45. To purchase tickets, visit reglenna.com or call the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts Box Office at 716-484-7070.
CRYB programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support for CRYB classical ballet performances is provided by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Oliver G. & Sarah Sloan Bauman Fund for the Arts and M&T Bank.