Press Releases

The Capital Region’s Holiday Tradition Returns
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ offers holiday magic

Carlisle, Pa. (October 31, 2012) – A Christmas tree that grows enormous before your very eyes, a battle between pesky mice and an army of brave toy soldiers, a spectacular snowfall, and all the enchanting inhabitants of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fascinating world light up the region in Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s cherished holiday classic: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.  The enduring production returns to the stage at Whitaker Center Dec. 8-9 and the Hershey Theatre Dec. 15-16.

“What’s special about seeing ‘The Nutcracker’ year after year is rediscovering its many subtleties and finding new nuances,” said CPYB Associate Artistic Director and Balanchine Trust Répétiteur Darla Hoover. “The jealous antics of young Fritz. Marie’s elderly grandparents joining in the dance. The mysterious Herr Drosselmeier’s face appearing over the clock just before the Christmas tree grows to towering heights! It’s thrilling to watch young children and adults alike become wonderfully engrossed in the happenings on stage.”

CPYB is honored as the only pre-professional company in the world licensed to perform this annual holiday favorite. Casts of more than 140 dancers will captivate the hearts of all ages as they travel with Marie in her fanciful dream to the Land of Sweets.

“There’s just nothing that compares to Mr. Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker,’” Ms. Hoover explains. “In his typical genius, Mr. Balanchine matched superb choreography with Tchaikovsky’s beloved music and a marvelous storyline.”

Ms. Hoover, a former New York City Ballet dancer and CPYB alumna, works throughout the world as a distinguished répétiteur staging works for The George Balanchine Trust and for Peter Martins, Ballet Master-in-Chief of New York City Ballet.

This year’s production will include the newly-designed costumes for the Sugarplum Fairy and Her Cavalier from the second act. Created by CPYB costume director Betty Smith, the Sugarplum Fairy’s nine-layered skirt is constructed from Balanchine Net and fashioned after the quintessential costumes of Barbara Karinska, longtime Balanchine collaborator and costume designer. The Cavalier’s body-fitting silhouette tunic is made of shimmering Dupioni silk embellished with jewels and Swarovski stones.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ runs for three performances Dec. 8-9 at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg. The production will be staged again Dec. 15-16 at the historic Hershey Theatre. Maestro Stuart Malina, one of America’s most gifted conductors, returns to Hershey to lead the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra’s live performances of Tchaikovsky’s richly colorful score.

“I am once again very excited to be collaborating with CPYB on George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™,” said Malina. “This spectacular production is a highlight of the HSO's holiday season – thrilling dance joined with gorgeous live music!”

CPYB is supported, in part, by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Cultural Enrichment Fund.

Ticket Information:

CPYB will perform the holiday favorite at two superb locations. Experience an intimate venue in the heart of downtown Harrisburg.

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts
1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, December 8
2 p.m. Sunday, December 9
Tickets range from $19-$43
717.214.ARTS (2787) or visit

The production will be staged again with Maestro Stuart Malina conducting the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.

Hershey Theatre
1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, December 15
2 p.m. Sunday, December 16
Tickets range $25-$48
717.534.3405 or visit

Special Event:
A Sugarplum Fairy Tea Party kicks off the holidays at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, December 8, at Whitaker Center Kunkel Gallery. Filled with storytelling and delicious treats, guests will enjoy a tastefully created pre-performance tea party along with ‘The Nutcracker’ cast members. Tickets are $35 per adult and $25 per child and may be purchased by calling the Whitaker Center Box Office at 717.214.ARTS (2787) or online at 


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.

Darla Hoover, Associate Artistic Director and Balanchine Trust Répétiteur
Ms. Hoover was trained at the renowned Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary and completed her studies on a full scholarship at the School of American Ballet. In 1980, after choreographing a solo for her in the New York City Opera production of Bourgeois Gentilhomme, George Balanchine invited Ms. Hoover to become a member of his New York City Ballet. From 1980-1991, she appeared as a featured soloist in ballets such as Balanchine’s La Valse, Chaconne, Harlequinade, Ballo della Regina, as well as Peter Martins’s Eight Easy Pieces, Rossini Quartets, Sonata di Scarlatti, and Jerome Robbins’s Fanfare. Ms. Hoover now focuses her attention to teaching and staging ballets. In addition to her positions as the Associate Artistic Director of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Associate Artistic Director of Ballet Academy East’s graded children’s program in Manhattan, Ms. Hoover guest teaches all over the world. Working as a distinguished répétiteur, she stages works for the George Balanchine Trust and for Peter Martins, Ballet Master-in-Chief of the New York City Ballet. Recent stagings have included George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,™ Raymonda Variations, Serenade, Divertimento #15, Valse-Fantaisie, Allegro Brillante, Stars and Stripes, and Rubies as well as Peter Martins’s Eight Easy Pieces and Fearful Symmetries

Maestro Stuart Malina, Music Director Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra
Now in his 13th season as music director and conductor of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Stuart Malina has earned a reputation for orchestra building and multi-faceted versatility. His engaging personality and insightful interpretations have thrilled audiences and helped to break down barriers between performer and listener wherever he has worked. Maestro Malina was previously music director of the Greensboro Symphony (1996-2003), and associate conductor of the Charleston Symphony (1993-97).

During the 2012-13 season Stuart Malina assumes the position of principal guest and coffee series conductor with the Florida Orchestra in Tampa Bay. Later this season he will also direct concerts at Indiana University’s Conservatory of Music. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in February 2007, conducting the New York Pops in an all-Gershwin tribute. He was immediately invited to return to Carnegie and the Pops in October 2007.

In June 2003, he won the TONY award for orchestration with Billy Joel for the hit musical Movin’ Out, which Malina helped create with director/choreographer Twyla Tharp. In 2009, Pennsylvania Public Television awarded Maestro Malina with the Joanne Rogers Award for contribution to the artistic life of Pennsylvania, and in 2010 he was given the Jump Street Spectrum Award for excellence in the arts. Earlier this year, he was honored by Lebanon Valley College with its Founders Day Award and by Theatre Harrisburg with its prestigious Arts Award.

Maestro Malina holds degrees from Harvard University, the Yale School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller.