BalletNova Center for Dance collaborates with American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra

Premiere of New Ballet Performed to "Pictures at an Exhibition"
FALLS CHURCH, Va. - Oct. 26, 2017 - PRLog -- BalletNova Center for Dance and the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (AYPO) will collaborate for the presentation of a new ballet, Pictures at an Exhibition, Sunday, November 5, 2017, at 3:00pm at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center.

Pictures, choreographed by BalletNova's Constance Walsh, director of enrichment and adult programs, is set to the music composed by Modest Mussorgsky and arranged by Maurice Ravel. Mussorgsky composed the work after visiting an exhibit of a late friend's artwork. He captured his experience in music.

Now Walsh must capture the experience in dance.

In this second collaboration between the two organizations, AYPO will perform all ten sections of Pictures during its opening concert, with Walsh's choreography accompanying five of them. She has vividly interpreted "Promenades," "The Gnome," "The Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks in Their Shells," "The Hut on Fowl's Legs," "Tuileries (Children's Quarrel after Games)" and "The Market at Limoges."

Walsh's newest ballet shares the story of four school girls and their teacher, as they venture through a museum's art exhibits during "Promenades." The choreography lends itself to both humor and drama, but Walsh is after creating a sense of mystery.

"The young school girl is enamored by the paintings," Walsh said. "Seeing them come to life she is both fearful and fascinated at the same time."

Mussorgky's Pictures, originally a piano solo, was published in 1886, four years after his death. The more popular Ravel-orchestrated version, which AYPO will be performing, was arranged in 1922.

Last year, the two organizations presented Daphnis and Chloe. This year, Walsh knows what to expect in terms of overall look and feel of the performance. While she's used to seeing only dancing on stage, the orchestra offers a movement of its own behind the dancers.

"I want to enhance the experience of the audience with the orchestra, for the audience to hear the music and maybe hear it differently with the dancers on stage," Walsh said. "There should be a sense of the collaboration between the dancers and orchestra. The reason I do this collaboration is to hear and feel the live music behind the dancers. The tempo can change at the whim of the conductor and the musicians. It's a good experience for our dancers to learn to adjust."

The images certainly aren't the easiest to interpret, even figuratively, as Walsh has discovered.

"The humor of the dance is always a fun part of choreography," Walsh said. "The music is my inspiration- I listen to it over and over until I see a picture in my mind, and then I begin to construct the dance."

High school students from both BalletNova and AYPO are training at the pre-professional level in order to deliver this high-quality art partnership to the surrounding community on November 5.

Sylvia Allmena, Interim Music Director & AYP Conductor Director and Director and Brass Fellowship for Orchestral Arts, leads AYP on an all-Russian concert, featuring AYPO alumnus Jennifer Montone '95 (Philadelphia Orchestra) on Gliere's Concerto for Horn. The program concludes with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

BalletNova Director of Enrichment and Adult Programs Constance Walsh ( presents a premiere of her new work choreographed to Pictures at an Exhibition. The ballet features guest artists Alexa Mengenhauser, Chad Van Ramshorst, Elizabeth Spatz and dancers from the BalletNova Conservatory and Junior Divisions.

Tickets are $10 - General Admission and can be purchased online or at the door.

American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras (formerly the Northern Virginia Youth Symphony Association) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that was founded by the Fairfax Symphony in 1964 and became independent in 1978.  AYPO is proud to be in its 52nd season of educating young musicians and giving them the opportunity to engage and learn through classical music. Recognized as one of the leading orchestral training programs in the nation, AYPO provides competitive world-class training and performance opportunities for musicians up to 21 years of age. AYPO has represented youth in the arts through performances at Strathmore, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the National Orchestral Festival, the International Rachmaninoff Festival (Novgorod, Russia), the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (Scotland), the British Festival of Youth Orchestras, the Festival of Youth Orchestras (Chicago and Washington D.C.), and the Spoleto Festival (South Carolina).

BalletNova Center for Dance, founded in 1981, is dedicated to educating and mentoring dancers in a positive, nurturing environment and preserving the traditions of classical ballet through quality dance productions and education. Led by Artistic Director Laveen Naidu (, BalletNova presents two major performances each year, the beloved Nutcracker Ballet in December and a mixed bill of classical ballet and contemporary works in May.  The award-winning pre-professional ballet program is recognized as one of the best in the Metro Washington DC area, and BalletNova is known for its extensive Adult Dance Division with classes in a variety of levels. Housed in a beautiful six-studio 20,800 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Falls Church, VA, BN offers classes to over 1,400 students in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, hip hop, and conditioning for children, teens and adult dancers. The Fredgren Studio Theatre, a 150-seat black box theatre designed for dance, offers BalletNova and other local companies a space to perform and rehearse in the Northern Virginia area.


BalletNova is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization supported in part by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development, the Arlington Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kacie Peterson
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