Above photo: Isabel Borges and Cameron Catazaro Hayward, From A to M choreographed by Alan Hineline. I caught the dress rehearsal for Ballet Academy East’s Spring Performance a few weeks ago at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse and posted a few photos on my website notmydayjobphotography.com. Julia Dubno founded BAE in 1979; current prominent alumni include New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Chase Finlay and Soloist Erica Periera, and ABT Corps members Puanani Brown and Hannah Marshall, along with dancers in major companies worldwide. The Pre-Professional Division faculty, led by Artistic Director and former NYCB dancer Darla Hoover, includes former and current dancers Charles Askegard, Maxim Beloserkovsky, Gonzalo Garcia, Wendy Whelan, and Cheryl Yeager.
While most ballet school performances stick to standard Petipa classics, BAE regularly presents Balanchine works and new material created specifically for the school. It must be exciting for the students to tackle new choreography. Impressive characteristics of the students are their musicality and solid ensemble/corps work. The bill included inspiring works from Alan Hineline, Marcia Dale Weary, Jenna Lavin, Balanchine’s Scherzo á la Russe, and Tarantella from Napoli by August Bournanville. Jenna is a former Miami City Ballet Soloist teaching and choreographing works at BAE since 2003. Hineline is the Director of Artistic Programming at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) where he is charged with creating and acquiring repertoire that furthers the development of the school. Marcia Dale Weary founded CPYB in 1955. The school has trained many dancers at major companies worldwide including New York City Ballet’s Ashley Bouder, Jonathan and Abi Stafford, Sean Lavery, Ethan Stiefel, and American Ballet Theatre’s Jeffrey Cirio.
I couldn’t make the performance, but what I saw in dress rehearsal was a high level of advanced technique with expressive work, dramatic nuanced touches, and nicely synchronized corps work. The dancers’ musicality and unity were particularly pronounced in Hineline’s works From A to M and Concerto in D to scores by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, respectively. Bournonville’s Tarantella from Napoli brought the program to an rousing end with high energy movements.