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Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet

Abby Jayne DeAngelo waits to take the stage as the Sugarplum Fairy in last year's production of George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker."

photo by Rosalie O'Connor

HARRISBURG — When young ballerina Abby Jayne DeAngelo takes the stage to perform in a world premiere ballet this weekend at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, she won’t be able to see her brother, Joseph.

But she’ll know he is there, in the orchestra pit, performing his role as first violinist for the Harrisburg Youth Symphony Orchestra.

It will mark the first time the Carlisle siblings have performed together in a ballet setting.

“I’m so excited because my brother will be performing with me,” Abby Jayne, 15, said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

There may also be a good bit of pressure, since this year’s edition of CPYB’s popular June Series will mark the first time the renowned ballet school will performed with the youth orchestra.

That’s a bit surprising, given that CPYB’s young dancers have often performed with the parent Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and conductor Stuart Malina, notably in the school’s annual production of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” at Hershey Theatre.

But now that omission has been corrected, and two of Midstate’s best-known arts organizations for youths will collaborate on a new ballet created by CPYB Resident Choreographer Alan Hineline, using 19th century music from Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite for String Orchestra.

Youth orchestra conductor Gregory Woodbridge said the chance to perform with the highly skilled dancers of CPYB — the only pre-professional school in the nation licensed to present the works of George Balanchine — presents a wonderful opportunity for his young musicians.

“We’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game, that’s for sure,” Woodbridge said. “I have to prepare the orchestra to perform at the tempos that the dancers have been rehearsing to, and to do that I have to have an orchestra that is really on top of the stick.”

CPYB founder Marcia Dale Weary said the Carlisle-based school is committed to such collaborations between peer groups in the arts.

“Working together, as in collaboration with HYSO, expands the creative horizons of all of these wonderful young people,” Weary said, “and audiences experience performances that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.”

Hineline’s new 20-minute work will be performed twice during the four-day June Series, which begins on Wednesday, June 18, and continues through Saturday, June 21.

Hineline, who is also the school’s CEO, said it is important for serious ballet students like those at CPYB to experience a variety of choreographies. “The school has a real understanding of the importance that choreography plays ... in building a complete, well-rounded dancer,” he said.

While some pieces will be performed more than once during the June Series, each program also

features distinctly different themes and works.

The actual premiere of Hineline’s new piece will be Friday night during a program titled “See the Music Dance.”

That night also will feature a second world premiere, this one from young choreographer Kiyon Gaines, a soloist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. His work is based around contemporary German composer Max Richter’s recasting of Antonio Vivaldi’s groundbreaking 18th century work, “The Four Seasons.”

“There is nothing like creating a work for dancers who love to dance,” Gaines said. “The dancers and the training at CPYB have a stellar reputation in the dance world, and I am thrilled to have been invited to share my choreography with the dancers.”

Among the performers in the both premieres will be Abby Jayne DeAngelo, who has been training with CPYB since she was 5 years old and is now one of the school’s top dancers. Last December, she played the key role of the Sugarplum Fairy in CPYB’s “Nutcracker” production, accompanied by HSO.

“It’s very, very fast and energetic,” she said of Gaines’ work, in which she will have an extended solo dance. “He’s very excited when he works with us, and it rubs off on us.”

She’s equally looking forward to the Hineline work and the prospect of performing with a live orchestra again, especially one featuring HYSO and her concertmaster brother.

“In a way it’s more challenging,” she said of performing with a live orchestra. “They are human, so the tempo fluctuates. But I think it’s more fun because the music is right there with you. It’s more real, somehow.”

Joe DeAngelo has often attended his sister’s ballet performances with CPYB as a spectator, but is looking forward to performing with her in the world of dance. He’s a high school senior, so it may be the only chance he gets before both of them leave home to pursue professional careers in the arts.

“She plays harp and piano, so we’ve played music together, but I’ve never worked with her on ballet before,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning more about that world.”

From a musical standpoint, he’ll have his eyes focused on Woodbridge, who will be the only member of HYSO able to physically see the dancers.

“The important thing is, I really have to connect with my conductor,” Joe DeAngelo said. “I’m watching him and the rest of the section is watching me.”


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