CRYB presents “The Nutcracker” at the Reg Lenna, December 10-11

Maya Swanson and Spencer Keith as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet

Tickets are now on sale for The Nutcracker which will be held at the Reg Lenna Center For The Arts on Friday, December 10th at 7:30 pm and Saturday, the 11th at 3:00 pm.

After the necessary cancellation of last year’s Nutcracker due to Covid the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet is excited to get back to what they love to do – sharing their passion for dance through performing for the community, especially their annual Nutcracker performance.

The production had become a holiday tradition for many families and this year’s production promises magic, excitement and inspiring performances for everyone. Artistic Director, Monika Alch says, “We are thrilled to have Guest Artist Spencer Keith from Boston perform the role of the Cavalier with CRYB’s own Maya Swanson as the Sugar Plum Fairy”

Spencer Keith was born in Romania and raised in Honolulu, HI. He received his training at Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace, Woodbury Ballet and Hawaii State Ballet. In 2008 Spencer was invited to participate in the Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s Gala performance. He was awarded a gold medal for pas de deux in the Connecticut Classic Competition in 2011 and a silver medal for variation in 2012.

Spencer joined Josè Mateo Ballet Theatre in Boston in 2011 and frequently performs as a guest artist in the Boston and New England area. He has also taught workshops at CRYB in partnering and recently performed in CRYB’s 2021 Spring Gala production.

Maya Swanson, 16, is a member of the Pre-Professional division at CRYB. and attends Eisenhower High School in Warren. Maya has been accepted to and attended the prestigious School of American Ballet Summer Program in NY for the past 4 summers. This is Maya’s 11th Nutcracker with CRYB.

Ms. Alch remarks that in addition to the treat of seeing our guest performer the audience will also be impressed by the caliber of performance presented by CRYB ballet students who will also be joined by dancers from The Patterson School of Ballet in Erie, PA. Clara, the ballet’s heroine, will be danced by CRYB dancer Annie Johnson partnered by her Prince, Telly Ortiz. Other featured roles are the Snow Queen by Maya Swanson and the Dew Drop Fairy by Madeleine Leenders.

Battle Scene rehearsal.

The opening Party Scene also features some community members as party guests. These include Galena Duba-Weaver, Adam Fuller, Autrick Pattison and Makayla Santiago-Froebel. New this year in the pivotal role of Herr Drosselmeyer is Christopher Switala. CRYB instructor Rudi Andalora will perform the Host and Mother Ginger, and Yahir McFaline will perform the Rat King. Almost 40 other cast members round out the cast.

Also back again is Chloe – the Party Pooch, a former rescue dog who has performed in the last several Nutcrackers with CRYB.

CRYB Executive Director Elizabeth Bush notes seating is reserved so reserve tickets early for best choice of seating. Audience members are asked to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
Sponsors for this year’s performances include Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, New York State Council on the Arts, and M&T Bank.

Public performances are scheduled for Friday, December 10th at 7:30pm and Saturday, December 11th at 2:00 pm. may be reserved by calling the Reg Lenna Box Office at 716-484-7070 or on their website at

The Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet (CRYB) is a not-for-profit organization that provides high-quality classical ballet instruction to youth from Chautauqua County and the surrounding areas.