Press Releases

The Capital Region’s Holiday Tradition Returns
CPYB brings the holidays home with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™

Carlisle, Pa. (November 8, 2011) – Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) is pleased to present the capital region’s enchanting holiday classic: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.™ In an atmosphere charged with holiday spirit, a festive party, a magical gift and a fanciful dream, audiences will revel in the wonder as casts of more than 140 dancers take them on a journey to the Land of Sweets.

Based on the story The Nutcracker and The Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ has captivated the hearts of all ages since it first premiered back in 1954. CPYB is honored as the only pre-professional company in the country licensed to perform this holiday favorite. With a mere 900 opulent costume pieces, magical special effects – including a 450-pound Christmas tree that grows to more than 22 feet tall – and stunning choreography that sets free the viewer’s imagination, CPYB’s annual production is nothing short of a Broadway spectacular.

“The appeal of the show ranges from young to old and everything in between,” says Darla Hoover, CPYB Associate Artistic Director and Balanchine Trust Répétiteur. “I love that it has become a family tradition. In this age of digital technology, it’s nice to enjoy something together as a family – something to share together for years.”

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. Most recently Ms. Hoover returned from Copenhagen where she staged George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ for the Royal Danish Ballet.

Maestro Stuart Malina, one of America’s most gifted conductors, returns to lead the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra’s live performances of Tchaikovsky’s richly colorful score during the second weekend of CPYB’s performances at the historic Hershey Theatre.

This year’s production will include the newly-designed Hot Chocolate costumes, known also as Spanish Dance, from the second act. When the ballet was created, several foreign delicacies were very special and rare. People did not travel the world frequently, so foreign products were much harder to get. Along with such sweets as Arabian Coffee, Chinese Tea, and Russian Candy Canes, Spanish Chocolate was considered special enough to be a part of the fanciful Land of the Sweets. Designed by costume director Betty Smith, the new costume’s classic velvet bodice pattern with detached sleeves is styled after that of New York City Ballet and decorated with a small cameo picture of George Balanchine and bon-bons sitting in chocolate cups.

The new show drop, made of translucent construction and engineered from a seamless, heavy-duty muslin scenery fabric, draws the audience into a dream-filled world of mice, soldiers, dancing snowflakes, a Sugar Plum Fairy, and a handsome cavalier. Elaborate stage elements and evocative lighting make George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ a holiday gift every family will want to be part of.

“Time after time it brings an unforgettable spark to everyone’s holiday season,” adds Ms. Hoover. “Some people say without ‘TheNutcracker’ it’s not Christmas.”

New also this season is the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, December 10, 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 whitakercenter.org. 

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 10
2 p.m. Sunday, December 11
Tickets range from $19-$43
717.214.ARTS or visit whitakercenter.org

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

Hershey Theatre
1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, December 17
2 p.m. Sunday, December 18
Tickets range $25-$48
717.534.3405 or visit hersheytheatre.com

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

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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 schulte@cpyb.org. Coverage opportunities of performances are also available and must be set up through Bonnie Schulte.

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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’ Eight Easy Pieces, Rossini Quartets, Sonata di Scarlatti, and Jerome Robbins’ 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, andRubies as well as Peter Martins’ Eight Easy Pieces and Fearful Symmetries.

Maestro Stuart Malina, Music Director Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra
Malina is one of America’s most versatile and accomplished conductors. In a wide variety of concerts, from masterworks and grand opera to pops, Maestro Malina’s ease on the podium, engaging personality, and insightful interpretations have thrilled audiences and helped to break down the barriers between performer and listener wherever he has worked. Entering his 10th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Malina has also held appointments at the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra (Music Director, 1996-2003), and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (Associate Conductor, 1993-97).