Press Releases

By Popular Demand Dancing Musical Journey Returns:
Carnival of the Animals

  Carlisle, Pa. (September 19, 2012) – Dancing angelfish, bluebirds, chicks, and monkeys will bring a smile to any child’s face. Add in live music and clever narration and this magical carnival will make adults feel as giddy as children. Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) opens its 2012/13 Season with the reprise of the crowd-pleasing Carnival of the Animals. Performances are 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21. Tickets are $20 for adults and $16 for children age 12 and under and may be purchased by calling Whitaker Center at 717.214.ARTS (2787), online at, or in person at the Whitaker Box Office at 222 Market Street in Harrisburg.

A vivid retelling of Camille Saint-Saëns’1886 orchestral composition by the same name, Carnival of the Animals is called “A beautifully rendered show for children and adults that deserves to become an annual tradition.” (The Patriot-News Arts Review: October 2011)

‘Carnival’ features original choreography by CPYB faculty and former Boston Ballet principal dancer Laszlo Berdo. Inspired by the idea of an imaginary pet store, choreographer Berdo turned to his own young son and created the lead character based on his love for animals.

“As a choreographer it is very exciting to create a work that is received by the audience with great enthusiasm. Even better than that is an audience that wants to see it again!” says Berdo. “Theatre-goers will see all their favorite characters in the story. Some will be portrayed by new dancers who will bring their own interpretation to the role. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”

WITF radio personality Cary Burkett will be back offering his “witty and rhyming narration.” The 11-member Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra (HSO) ensemble under the direction of Gregory Woodbridge, music director and conductor of the symphony’s youth orchestra and HSO assistant conductor, will bring Saint-Saëns’ well-known melody to life.

“Knowing CPYB’s reputation for artistic excellence, I am thrilled to lead the musicians of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra for this event,” says Woodbridge. “This will be my first time working with Laszlo and Cary, and I admire them both greatly for what they have given to our region.”

Through an imaginative use of color, texture and lighting, veteran costume designer Betty Smith, highly regarded dance, opera and theatre scenic designer Lewis Folden, and sought-after lighting designer Josh Monroe create scenes befitting a spirited cast of feathers, fins and tails. For this season’s production, exotic members of the pet store aviary will don vibrantly-colored tail feathers. The already flamboyant macaw will sport a new feathered vest of soft down and a set of wings, all helping to create an illusion of “flight.” Residents of the store aquarium are also receiving enhancements. The addition of metallic fabric to the seahorse costumes will help the audience experience underwater motion, while the “great and ancient sea-tortoise,” now another year older, will carry more barnacles and seaweed.

Nearly 50 eye-popping costumes bring alive the vivid daydreams of a young boy who can’t keep his mind on his piano lessons because his mother promised him a pet for his birthday. From the show’s playful choreography to its whimsical costumes and sing-song libretto, ‘Carnival’ brings out the child in everyone.

A Children’s Workshop for children ages four and older is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, October 20, at Whitaker Center. Led by CPYB teachers, along with CPYB dancers, the pre- performance workshop includes a special animal appearance courtesy of the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area. Tickets are $10 per child and may be purchased by calling the Whitaker Center Box Office at 717.214.ARTS (2787), online at, or in person at the Whitaker Box Office at 222 Market Street in Harrisburg.

Funding for Carnival of the Animals is underwritten, in part, by PNC Wealth Management. CPYB is supported, in part, by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Cultural Enrichment Fund.


MEDIA OPPORTUNITY:We invite the media to attend upcoming rehearsals and speak with the performers and 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
Established in 1955 by Founding Artistic Director Marcia Dale Weary, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet is a nationally and internationally recognized school of classical ballet headquartered in Carlisle, Pa. CPYB’s mission is to inspire, educate and enrich the lives of our students and the region through training in and the performance of classical ballet.

About Choreographer Laszlo Berdo
Berdo was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and began studying dance at the age of five. He intensified his studies at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois. He danced for Ballet Austin, the Louisville Ballet under Alun Jones and Helen Starr, and Cincinnati Ballet under Ivan Nagy. Berdo joined the Boston Ballet in 1990 and became a principal dancer in 1995. As a principal, he danced numerous roles in ballets by Cranko, McMillan, Balanchine, Bournonville, Hynd and Stevenson. Berdo also excelled in contemporary works by Tharp,

Taylor, Feld, Butler and York. He is honored to be the first to perform the lead role in Cranko’s Eugene Onegin in the United States. Berdo began his choreography career in 1993. His works, which include the pas de deux Eternal Being, Four Hands, Below Down Under, Sanctuary, and Bass Elements, have been performed for the Boston Ballet, International Ballet competition in Jackson, Mississippi, summer festival in Biarritz, France, Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo, Finnish National Ballet in Helsinki, and Boston Conservatory. In 2001 he created Concertante for Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s (CPYB) ChoreoPlan.

From 2000 to 2003 Berdo was a faculty member for the Boston Conservatory and Harvard University. He joined the full-time faculty of CPYB in 2003, for which he choreographed Snow White and premiered Peter Pan. He presented The Nutcracker for the Eglevsky Ballet, which premiered in December 2010; staged Swan Lake for CPYB in 2011, and premiered Carnival of the Animals in October 2011. Berdo teaches in the United States and Europe for ballet companies, summer intensives and colleges.

About Assistant Conductor Gregory Woodbridge
The Harrisburg Symphony is thrilled to welcome Maestro Gregory Woodbridge in his inaugural season as Music Director and Conductor of the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of the HSO. Woodbridge also holds posts with the York Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra and the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet Orchestra. He continues to inspire impassioned performances from orchestras at all levels, student through professional, and has been praised for his exceptional musicianship and artistry on the podium.

Maestro Woodbridge began studying piano at the age of seven and violin at the age of nine. He holds degrees from Penn State University where he was assistant conductor for the Penn State Philharmonic, the Penn State Chamber Orchestra, and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra. Additional conducting studies include the Pierre Monteux Conducting Institute in Maine with Michael Jinbo; Leonid Korchmar (Kirov Opera and St. Petersburg Conservatory); Ennio Nicotra (founder of the Musin Society); and most recently Gustav Meier and JoAnn Falletta at the Conductor’s Institute Richmond Symphony Masterclass.

Woodbridge was recently honored by the Penn State School of Music with their Distinguished Alumni award for his work with youth orchestras, including the Hershey High School Symphony Orchestra, a 110-member orchestra that won a performance spot at the PMEA All-State Conference in April 2010. He was also the Music Director and Conductor of the Wednesday Club Youth Orchestra (Harrisburg, PA) from 2000-2007, a highly selective string orchestra that had the distinct honor of performing with fiddler Mark O’Connor on two separate tours to the Harrisburg area. In 2010, Mr. Woodbridge was named a Conducting Fellow with the Allentown Symphony by their Music Director, Diane Wittry.