Video of the Month: The Makings of a Winter Classic

Congratulations to Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the latest Editors’ Choice winner for Dance Teacher’s Video of the Month!

Founded in 1955 by Marcia Dale Weary (DT January 2004), CPYB has been staging a version of The Nutcracker for about 45 years. At this point, they have it down to a science.

Rehearsals begin in October, with Balanchine répétiteur and CPYB associate artistic director Darla Hoover setting the framework of every scene. School principal Nicholas Ade says using the Balanchine choreography has elevated students to a higher performance standard. “We’re doing the same version being done in New York City,” he says. “The kids rise to the occasion because they want to be part of something special.”

Students as young as 7 participate. They are handpicked by Marcia Dale Weary for roles without the stress of a formal audition. When it comes to keeping the little ones attentive during rehearsals, Ade says the work begins in class. “It’s built into their class work, the focus, determination and commitment,” he says. “Yes, it takes a lot of time to put everything together, but their commitment to the school is at such a high level on a daily basis that the rehearsal process becomes easier.”

Another major contributor to CPYB’s well-oiled Nutcracker machine lies in communication. Clarifying expectations to parents is particularly essential, Ade says. Before they give their children permission to participate, parents know they are committing to not only every rehearsal but to a requisite number of weekly classes, depending on the student’s level. Even the lowest-level dancers take at least one afternoon class before attending rehearsal. “Making sure everyone knows what to expect has greatly reduced the amount of stress. The dancers only have to think about their roles and not what time they are going to rehearse.”

Want to build buzz about your studio, workshop or class? Posting videos to the Dance Teacher Video of the Month Contest is quick, easy and free—and a great way to get noticed. If your video is selected as Editors’ Choice, you’ll be featured on this page! The Viewers’ Choice winner will be announced in DT’s newsletter and on our social-media pages. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity—visit, share your videos and vote for your favorites. Any and all kinds of dance are welcome.

Photo by Maria Barnett, courtesy of CPYB

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