CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — A renowned ballet school in Carlisle is carrying out its late founder’s dream, opening a brand new theater and renovating its entire facility. School leaders say this is one more step in their mission to bring dance to the community — and well beyond.
Every weekday at 3 p.m. in Carlisle, dozens of dancers lace up their shoes, take their places on the floor and practice each step to perfection.
“Three p.m. to 9 p.m., they’re here and they’re dedicating themselves to this training,” said Nicholas Ade, CEO of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB).
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Dancers of all levels train with CPYB, some moving across the country to train with the prestigious school.
“You can say CPYB pretty much around any ballet, professional ballet company in the country, and they know exactly what those four letters mean. It stands for excellence, it stands for world class training,” Ade said.
However, Ade admits the studios did not always give off “world-class training.”
“It really was a warehouse, it was a shoe warehouse,” Ade said of CPYB’s space.
The school spent the last year renovating the entire space, starting demolition in January 2022 after a long period of fundraising.
“It’s the professionally sprung floors, it’s the professionally seamed marley, it’s the conditioning room,” Ade explained.
The biggest project is a brand new, 200-seat theater, a dream of late founder Marcia Dale Weary.
“It really was about opening the doors to the community,” Ade said.
CPYB performs at other theaters in the Midstate, but Ade explained Weary wanted a space within the school where the community could come and see what the students are capable of. Unfortunately, Weary passed away in 2019, before seeing her dream come true.
“We’re the ones that are going to be able to welcome the community in, so we see it as carrying out her legacy and one that we’re very proud of because we believed in the same things that she did,” Ade said.
Still, a generation of students has a new home.
“These are the kids who danced in their basements, in their living rooms, on Zoom for so long, so these kids really love this,” Ade said.
It is a place to perfect every plié, and so much more.
“There are so many life lessons wrapped up in ballet, like resilience and confidence,” Ade said. “If we can make a better community through ballet, it’s just a wonderful and beautiful thing.”
Ade said the school has had one small performance, their student choreographer showcase, in the new theater, but he said they are planning many more.