Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet to host Spring Gala

JAMESTOWN – After Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet’s annual production of “Nutcracker” completed in December, the school began working on its next project: the annual Spring Gala.

The Spring Gala features all the students of the CRYB, which range from 4 years old to young adult. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m Saturday, June 15, at Reg Lenna Civic Center.

According to Elizabeth Bush, executive director for CRYB, the program includes a classical ballet repertoire along with contemporary ballet and modern works.

“We have two major performances each year, the ‘Nutcracker’ and the Spring Gala,” said Bush. “The ‘Nutcracker’ is more of a professional performance for the community, in which we hold auditions, while the Spring Gala features every student in the school. It usually has somewhat of a theme, and is not just individual dance numbers. The numbers tie in with each other so the students get used to doing repertoire at a young age.”

The program will feature several pieces danced by a total of about 60 dancers. It will last approximately an hour and a half. The show will open with CRYB’s youngest students and early intermediate level students who will perform a ballet suite to the music of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.” The piece was choreographed by CRYB faculty. Three variations from the ballet “Paquita,” which will be danced by intermediate two and advanced level students, will follow. The first act will close with a contemporary ballet solo “Letzer Tag.”

“I’m doing three pieces, ‘Paquita,’ ‘Red Violin’ and ‘Soldato,'” said Lydia Everett, high school junior. “We’ve been here a lot doing rehearsing and exercise for it. I’m excited because all the pieces are really fun and cool to see.”

“I’m also in ‘Paquita,’ ‘Red Violin’ and ‘Soldato,'” added Rebecca Josephson, high school senior. “It’s my last year so I’m really excited to see how all my hard work pays off, and to enjoy my last performance.”

Act two will open with “Blanc et Noir,” a ballet suite choreographed to Antonio Vivaldi’s flute concerto in G minor. The piece will feature CRYB’s intermediate two students. Then four advanced students, Everett, Madeline Jones and seniors Kortney Young and Rebecca Josephson will dance the gypsy suite to music from the “Red Violin.” An original contemporary ballet, the piece was choreographed for CRYB by alumna Brittany Bush. Kitri’s variation from “Don Quixote” will then be performed by CRYB faculty member Jennifer Barczak. And finishing the program will be “Soldato,” a contemporary work to music by Phillip Glass, which was choreographed by Dara Swisher.

“I’m in ‘Paquita,’ (‘Blanc et Noir,’) and an understudy for ‘Red Violin,'” said Kaitlin Healy, eight-grader. “‘Paquita’ is fast and furious and then (‘Blanc et Noir,’) is a nice classical piece – we have a variety that all different types of people can enjoy.”

Jones, a high school sophomore, will perform “Letzer Tag,” “Red Violin” and “Soldato.” Jones was recently accepted into Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, for which she will be leaving June 22 for five weeks.

“I’m really excited because ‘Letzer Tag’ is a contemporary piece that is different, it flows and I like the music. ‘Red Violin’ is fun and I like the violin in it. ‘Soldato’ is modern and I really like modern.” said Jones.

Monika Alch, artistic director for CRYB, said she is excited for the Spring Gala, but saddened too, because two students, Young and Rebecca Josephson are graduating. Young has plans to attend SUNY Fredonia, while Josephson will attend James Madison University.

“I’m also excited because we have a whole group of new kids coming up, and you can always see who is going to step up when you practice for the Spring Gala,” said Alch. “If people come they will see how the students are getting better.”

Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $6 for children 6 and under. They are available at the Reg Lenna Box Office or by phone at 484-7070.

The Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, a school for classical ballet training, is a non profit organization. Scholarships are available.

For more information call 664-9766, visit or search for “Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet” on Facebook.