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Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet To Return

Chautauqua Regional Youth Balllet dancer Cate Walter is pictured as the Sugar Plum Fairy with guest artist Spencer Keith.

The Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet will return to the stage on Saturday with its Spring Gala at 8 p.m. at Chautauqua Institution.

“It will be a joy to have the talented dancers of CRYB back in the Chautauqua Amphitheater,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, interim chief program officer. “After a difficult year for all, we are excited to bring the community together to celebrate young people and the arts!”

Although able to resume in-person classes at the ballet’s 21 East Third St. location with reduced size classes and with proper health screening processes in place, the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet was forced to cancel both its Spring Gala performance in June and its annual Nutcracker performance in December. Dancers who spent years training and weeks and months rehearsing were suddenly unable share their work with live audiences.

Act 2 will be a special treat and gift to the community.Because the 2020 performance of the Nutcracker was forced to be canceled due to the pandemic, the youth ballet will perform Act 2 of the Nutcracker.

“We will start with the pas-de-deux from the end of Act 1 with Clara and the Prince which segues into the famous Snow scene with the Snow Queen and Snowflakes,” said Monika Alch, Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet artistic director. “We will then continue with the Act 2 Divertissments.”

Nutcracker soloists will feature senior Cate Walter as the Sugar Plum Fairy performing with guest artist Spencer Keith from Boston, Mass. as the cavalier. Maya Swanson will perform the roles of the Dewdrop Fairy and lead Merlaton, Cecelia Johnson will perform the Snow Queen and Arabian. Annie Johnson and Telly Ortiz will perform Clara and the Prince. Averil Dubois and Madeline Leenders will perform the Chinese solos.

The first half of the program will feature all Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet students performing with their classes.

Repertoire includes class pieces to music by Tchaikovsky and Strauss in addition to more advanced repertoire danced by Advanced and Pre-Professional students. Gypsy Suite from the Red Violin and Bach Concerto were both choreographed for CRYB’s Pre-Professional dancers by CRYB alumna Brittany Bush. A new modern work for Intermediate and Advanced dancers choreographed by CRYB instructor Rudi Andalora will be premiered. Graduating senior Cate Walter will perform a solo variation from the ballet Sylvia and CRYB dancer and staff member Telly Ortiz will perform a solo to the Habenera from Carmen. A special treat in Act 1 will be a performance of Classical Indian Dance by faculty member Sukanya Burman.

Partial funding for the project was from the Oliver G. and Sarah Sloan Bauman Fund for the Arts through the Greater Buffalo Community Foundation.

Tickets for the performance will go on sale June 5th through the Chautauqua Box Office at 357-6250 or chqtickets.com Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students.

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