Picture this: Pa. Youth Ballet
Two family-friendly ballets with live music, “Carnaval” and “Pictures at an Exhibition,” will be performed by the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley June 2, Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem.
One performance for school students will be presented at 10 a.m. and one performance for the public will be presented 7 p.m. June 2.
The Ballet Guild, a nonprofit organization founded by Marjorie Berlin Fink in 1958, serves as the umbrella organization of the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (PYB).
Karen Kroninger Knerr is the Artistic Director for the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley. She is also a ballet teacher at the PYB school. Knerr grew up as a student with the Ballet Guild and is a graduate of The Juilliard School Dance Division and a former Principal Dancer with the Albany Berkshire Ballet and the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company.
“‘Carnaval’ is a wonderful, lighthearted ballet,” says Knerr. She adapted the choreography of Mikhail Fokine, whose creation premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1910, for the Zoellner stage.
The music, one of Schumann’s most often performed works, consists of 22 short pieces representing the characters and moods which might be encountered at a grand party or masked ball.
“It is joyous,” she says. “There is no real plot, just lots of couples in love. Eugene Albulesco provides live solo piano accompaniment, playing the music of Robert Schumann.”
“Pictures at an Exhibition,” the second performance, is the result of a collaboration with the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, whereby Knerr walked around the galleries and decided which paintings by Victor Hartman would be best suited for the music of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky.
Mussorgsky’s most famous piano composition and a showpiece for virtuoso pianists is a suite of 10 pieces which portrayed his tour through an exhibition of 400 paintings by his close friend, the artist Viktor Hartmann, who, at age 39, died.
Digital projections on a screen will match the art with choreographed dances during the performance.
“It is a wonderful collaboration with the Art Museum,” says Knerr. “We are truly bringing the paintings to life.”
The Ballet Guild offers performances twice a year, the annual “Nutcracker” during the Christmas holiday season, and a Spring ballet.
“I think it is important to know that all the performances are all students,” says Knerr. “Our youngest student performer is 6 and our oldest is 18. We have over 70 dancers performing.”
Tickets: Zoellner Arts Center Box Office, 420 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem; bglv.org; zoellnerartscenter.org; 610-758- 2787, ext. 0