Press Releases

Bluebirds. Deer. Gingerbread Men and a Sinister Witch!
Hansel and Gretel

Carlisle, Pa. (September 16, 2014) - Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) kicks off its 2014/15 season on October 25 and 26 with the return of the national production Hansel and Gretel. Performed on the Whitaker stage at its world premiere in 2010, Alan Hineline’s adaptation of the Brothers Grimm tale is back by popular demand.

Audience members will find something brewing on the Whitaker stage … Hungry and lost in the forest, the sandman puts Hansel and Gretel in a deep sleep. When they awaken they stumble upon a house made of delicious confections and find themselves welcomed by a witch whose keen interest in them has sinister motives. Hansel is imprisoned and Gretel is forced to serve as the witch’s slave. But, they plan their escape, break the witch’s evil spell, and are reunited with their family for a happy ending that will have the audience cheering.

“This season CPYB is presenting fairy tales that will delight the whole family,” said Founding Artistic Director Marcia Dale Weary. “Hansel and Gretel is the perfect adventure for introducing children and their families to ballet.”

Many of the CPYB students who performed in the world premier of Hansel and Gretel in 2010 have gone on to professional careers in dance.

Grace Snyder played the role of Gretel when she was 15 and is now a paid professional company dancer with the Alabama Ballet in Birmingham. Grace recalls, “Although I had the opportunity to dance many classic ballets at CPYB, Hansel and Gretel has always been one of my favorites. Dancing the role of Gretel was a new challenge because it was the first time I had to portray a character that was much younger than I was. Usually I am cast in more serious, dramatic roles and that is what comes naturally for me. When I was Gretel, I had to learn how to show my playful side to the audience while still portraying all the drama of the story.”

When asked why audiences should be excited the production is returning to the Whitaker Center stage, Snyder said, “It is part of the Storybook Ballet Series and stays close to the storyline of the original fairy tale. It is a fabulous magical show for families and is exciting enough to keep the attention of even the youngest children. When I was performing it on stage I could hear the giggles and gasps of all the children in the audience. The costumes are beautiful, and the sets are large and visually stunning. The life-size gingerbread cookies are whimsical and were one of my favorite parts.”

Julian Duque, who danced the role of father in 2010, adds, “Audiences should be excited for this show because it really is a great ballet. It's PERFECT for kids, with different characters, props and costumes. Not just that, the music is invigorating.”

Duque, now 22, is in the corps de ballet at Miami City Ballet. He says his participation in the production influenced him as a dancer “in my artistic interpretation of the role of the father. The part focused mainly on partnering with my ‘wife’ and acting like a good father whose wife becomes angry with his children when they misbehave and spill the last of the family’s food. It was fun to have to act and it gave me good stage experience.”

“Providing students with opportunities to perform is a vital part of the CPYB experience. Our professionally produced ballets enable students to take what they learn in the studio and apply it to the stage,” explains Weary. “We are pleased to bring back this charming adaptation of Hansel and Gretel so that our current students can benefit from dancing in this exceptional production.”

Tickets for the hour-long production are on sale now: The $20 per ticket price makes Hansel and Gretel an adventure the entire family can enjoy! Call the Whitaker Center at 717.214.ARTS (2787), go online at, or visit in person the Whitaker Box Office at 222 North Market Street, Harrisburg.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY: We invite the media to attend upcoming rehearsals and speak with the performers and artistic staff about the performance. For more information, please contact Bonnie Schulte at 717.245.1191 or Coverage opportunities of performances are also available and must be set up through Bonnie Schulte.


About Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet is a celebrated leader in the world of classical ballet. Embracing an attitude of lifelong learning more than 59 years ago, Founding Artistic Director Marcia Dale Weary envisioned a school where children would have the opportunity to receive exceptional ballet training. Today CPYB is the nation’s preeminent school of classical ballet with an international reputation for training young men and women. The school’s renowned teaching methodology couples performance opportunities with innovative educational initiatives, an esteemed faculty, and a proven syllabus – all in an environment that promotes the acquisition of the life skills crucial to a child’s development.

Thousands of young people have passed through Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s esteemed studios. CPYB alumni continually occupy top positions in the leading ballet companies from San Francisco and Miami to New York, London and beyond. Through the organization’s threefold mission – to inspire, educate and enrich – the legacy of Marcia Dale Weary and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet redefines the art form, preserves its history and shapes its future.

CPYB is supported, in part, by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Cultural Enrichment Fund. CPYB is Resident Ballet Company at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.

About CPYB Founding Artistic Director Marcia Dale Weary
Ms. Weary is celebrated by critics and peers alike as one of the nation’s foremost instructors of classical ballet. She began her teaching career in Carlisle, Pa., in 1955 after her own studies with Thalia Mara and Arthur Mahoney at the School of Ballet Repertory in New York City. Under her leadership, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet has produced thousands of exquisitely prepared, classically trained dancers, including Ashley Bouder, Lia and Jeffrey Cirio, Kathleen Breen Combes, Carrie Imler, Tara and Zachary Hench, Ian Hussey, Sean Lavery, Tina LeBlanc, Abi and Jonathan Stafford, and Vanessa Zahorian, just to name a few. Currently more than 80 alumni occupy positions in highly regarded ballet companies such as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet.

Ms. Weary’s unequaled dedication to her school, students and instructors, and her unique teaching style has brought Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet to the top of the dance field. The New York Times stated Ms. Weary produces “dancers well known in the ballet world.” According to DanceTeacher Magazine, she “produces students who have the whole package—attention to detail, early technical development, and a broad socialization into the arts.” Ms. Weary and CPYB have been featured in leading newspapers and magazines, television news and features, and in the award-winning documentary film presented on national public television “Children with a Dream.”

She has been the recipient of many awards and distinctions over the past two decades including the 1992 recipient of the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award for Central Pennsylvania; the 2000 Carlisle Regional Arts Award, of which she was the first recipient; the 2007 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for the Arts for Outstanding Leadership and Service to Youth; and the 2009 Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth Award; the Central Penn Business Journal 2010 Woman of Influence Award for her leadership, integrity and accomplishments; and most recently, an honorary doctor of performing Arts degree from Dickinson College in recognition of her contributions to the performing arts.