Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet to Connect with Young Family Entertainment Series Audience

Dancers from the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet perform Tzigane during CRYB’s Spring Gala on June 14 in the Amphitheater. CRYB will open its Family Entertainment Series performance at 6 p.m. tonight in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall with Tzigane. SARAH YENESEL/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Throughout the course of the season, the Family Entertainment Series has provided engaging acts and energetic evenings that cater to younger Chautauquans.

But more often than not, the performers are adults, stepping over the age barrier to provide content that resonates with an audience far younger than themselves.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 13 in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall, that barrier won’t exist at all.

As the dancers from the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet spin and leap onto the stage, the age difference between the performers and some of their young audience members is, at times, only a handful of years.

But despite their ages, the members of CRYB deliver professional-quality performances that take audiences on journeys through a variety of dance styles and music genres.

Maya Swanson, one of the dancers who will be performing in tonight’s show, said that the program the ballet puts on for the FES is a unique one. 

“The audience will see a more intimate ballet performance,” Swanson said. “We are closer to the audience than we are in a typical performance without the lights and extra effects. It’s a more raw performance.”

As the ballerinas and ballerinos dance their way through Lenna Hall, they’ll be performing numbers from a variety of sources. According to CRYB Executive Director Elizabeth Bush, the night will include excerpts from The Nutcracker ballet and Swan Lake, as well as dances set to music from several notable composers. 

“The program contains primarily classical repertoire,” Bush said. “However, the opening number, Tzigane, is a contemporary ballet work choreographed for us by alumna Brittany Bush. … The closing number is always a crowd pleaser — it is a modern dance work by Dara Swisher to music by Philip Glass.”

Cate Walter, another of the evening’s performers, said she’s looking forward to the up-close and personal nature of the show.

“The Institution is so beautiful, and performing in Lenna Hall is always an intimate experience,” Walter said. “It’s fun to be able to see the audience members for a change.”

Bush, Walter and Swanson all agreed that performing for an FES audience is a fun, rewarding experience.

“(The audience is) very enthusiastic and appreciative, which of course is wonderful for the dancers,” Bush said. “After the performance, many of the children like to come up and take photos with the dancers. We hopefully might inspire a future dancer or two that night.”
Tags : Chautauqua Regional Youth BalletCRYBElizabeth S. Lenna HallFamily Entertainment SeriesFES

The author Duard Headley

Duard Headley is from tiny Yellow Springs, Ohio, and studies journalism and American studies at Miami University in Ohio. Coming hot off the heels of performing in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer, he is excited to cover theater at Chautauqua, merging his love for writing and theater into one experience. In his free time, he enjoys acting, reading, and staring wistfully into the distance as though he were deep in thought (He usually isn’t).