December 7th, 2015

See The Nutcracker at CCPL

nutcrackerEvery December, when the holiday music begins, I look forward to hearing the strains of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” My grandmother took me to the ballet when I was seven and I fell in love immediately. The lively music, the fabulous costumes and the magic of the growing Christmas tree never lose their enchantment.

I was curious about who wrote “The Nutcracker” and learned that the original was written in 1816 as a scary story for adults. It was re-written into a children’s story by French author, Alexander Dumas and  subsequently commissioned for a ballet by the Russian Imperial Ballet. At this time Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky was asked to compose the music and Lev Ivanov designed the choreography. The first “Nutcracker” was performed in St. Petersburg, Russia in December 1892, more than 120 years ago!

I now enjoy this holiday tradition with my children – and so can you! This Saturday, December 12 the Perryville and Elkton Central Libraries are hosting a free program called “Discover Dance: The Nutcracker.”  Get an up close view of The Nutcracker when dancers from Cecil Dancenter perform excerpts. Learn the story behind the ballet, how dancers prepare, and even learn some dance steps!

We hope you’ll join us. What’s your favorite part of the Nutcracker?

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October 26th, 2015

Peabody Dance Visits Cecil County

Peabody alumna Lillian MooreFrom Europe to South America to Asia, ballet has placed its demi-pointe almost everywhere in the world, starting in the Italian Renaissance during the 1500s.

However, ballet’s influence reached America much later—nearly 400 years later. There was only one professional ballet company by the late 1800s. One of the earliest dance companies was Peabody Dance, established by the Peabody Institute at John Hopkins in December 1914.

The school was a trailblazer for dance—it was the first location besides New York City to offer training associated with the Russian Imperial Ballet School. In 1942, the ballet program was formally introduced. Currently, the Peabody School of Dance teaches ballet and contemporary courses for children and adults. It is also home to the amazing Estelle Dennis Tuition-Free Training Program for Boys, which funds up to 25 boys for a year of professional training.

This year, Peabody Dance celebrates its 100th anniversary. To commemorate its centennial, the institute is having events to educate, inspire, and entertain the public.

On Friday, October 30th at 6 pm, join us at the Elkton branch library to hear Lisa Green-Cudek, a faculty member from Peabody Dance and Loyola University of Maryland, give an interactive lecture about the Peabody School of Dance and the evolution of dance through 100 years of Maryland history.

A free performance by the dancers from the Peabody Dance/Estelle Dennis Tuition-Free Boys Program will be held at the Cecil College Elkton Station on Sunday, November 8th, at 2pm. Please call 410-996-5600 x 481 to reserve tickets.

While you’re getting ready for the events, brush up on your dance history! Apollo’s Angels offers an entertaining and comprehensive history on ballet. Or get an inside look in the dance word with Dance Anecdotes: Stories from the Worlds of Ballet, Broadway, the Ballroom, and Modern Dance.

Misty Copeland, the first African-American Female Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, has a captivating memoir out: Life in Motion. She has also penned a children’s book, Firebird.

Pick up your child a fun ballet-themed movie like Olivia Takes Ballet, Ballet Shoes, or Barbie in the Nutcracker. Young readers may enjoy the Sugar Plum Ballerinas series. Or, they may want to try out their own moves in a Just Dance videogame for various gaming systems.

If you want to watch a movie, consider some of our collection’s DVDs: Step Up, which is set in Baltimore, Maryland; Footloose and Dirty Dancing, classics that are always fun to re-watch; and Every Little Step, a documentary about the audition process for the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.

Other movies about dance are available on Hoopla, the library’s online platform to watch movies and TV shows, and listen to audiobooks or read e-books on your tablet, smartphone, or computer. Watch the documentary Dancing Across Borders, which follows the story of a young Cambodian man who joins the School of American Ballet, or Honey, featuring Jessica Alba as a struggling hip-hop dancer.

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