Why Founder's Series?
In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. - Aldo Leopold
While not a conservationist like Aldo Leopold, Marcia Dale Weary knows something about June’s magical sequence. For each June, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet is teeming with dancers of all ages ready to burst onto stage for five unique performances.
Founder's Series, formally known as June Series, delights audiences with strong dancing, precise timing and breadth of gesture. Dancers of all ages move together in a colorful whirl of perpetual motion in this unofficial kick off to summer.
And while this is an undeniable treat for spectators, Founder's Series is also a vital component of the CPYB student experience. The opportunity to perform on stage, in front of an audience, is a crucial building block of a dancer’s success.
“We try to give every child – even the little ones – an opportunity to dance in Founder's Series,” explains Marcia. “A young child who is given the chance to perform on stage becomes a natural at it. It’s like home. And they just love putting on their costumes – they look forward to it!”
For older students who have spent years honing their technical skills, performances help build confidence as a dancer. The stage is where the passion and emotions of this art form are revealed.
But it’s about more than just being on stage.
In addition to the experience of performing in a professional venue, in front of a live audience, Founder's Series also exposes CPYB students to noted choreographers. “Students learn works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor and Alan Hineline,” explains Marcia. “When our dancers go on to a company, it’s a great advantage for them that they have already learned ballet by renowned choreographers.”
George Balanchine is widely regarded as the most influential choreographer of the 20th century. And innovative works, by rising stars like Jeffrey Cirio, Matthew Powell, and Kiyon Gaines, bring invention and energy to CPYB’s repertory. It is important for students to be exposed to both the classics and the new.
To be sure, Founder's Series is a unique extension of a dancer’s training.
Marcia believes it is also an important way for audience members to broaden their understanding of ballet. “While everyone knows storied classics like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, works like we present in Founder's Series are an entirely different ballet experience for dancers and audiences alike,” she shares.
Whether aiming to illuminate a literary work in a story ballet or a dance reverie with no narrative handle, the momentum of action and music in seeing a ballet in the theatre carries the audience into a world of zest and grandeur. Nowhere is this more evident than in this year’s mixed repertory production, Summer Ballet Series.
Renowned for their clarity of technique and performance aplomb, CPYB dancers perform this year in a program featuring a collection of internationally and nationally recognized choreographers and emerging artists. Emphasizing the relationship between music and movement, Founder's Series embodies the organization’s mission – inspire, educate and enrich the lives of its students and the region through the training and performance of classical ballet.