The Makaroff Youth Ballet performs the beloved musical fairy tale “Peter and the Wolf” on May 17 and 18 at UW-Fox Valley James W. Perry Hall, thanks to a $24,000 grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation. The grant enabled Makaroff to collaborate with the Appleton Area School District and Fox Valley Symphony to launch an integrated live performance of Peter and the Wolf, introducing all first graders to ballet and orchestra at a key early age.
By Katy Hopp, executive director, Makaroff Youth Ballet
At the heart of Makaroff Youth Ballet (MYB), is the strong desire to share the art of classical ballet with the community.
MYB is currently comprised of 19 dancers, ranging from 6th grade through seniors in high school, who have all shown a passion and dedication to ballet. Ballet is an art form that brings together powerful athleticism and graceful artistry, while telling stories through music and movement.
This weekend MYB will tell Sergei Prokofiev’s classic symphonic fairy tale, “Peter and the Wolf.” Combining characters and choreography with the instruments of the orchestra, “Peter and the Wolf” is a wonderful first ballet for young children, and a classic that people of all ages enjoy.
Thanks to a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region, MYB is bringing the piece to life with beautiful new costumes and a set that is now under construction, and will be premiered as part of MYB’s Spring Concert on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 at Perry Hall, UW-Fox Valley.
Jeanette Makaroff, the artistic director, was inspired by Prokofiev’s iconic music and vibrant story, to create MYB’s version of “Peter and the Wolf.” It’s a wonderful opportunity to introduce young children to both art of ballet and the beauty of the orchestra. She notes, “I enjoy being able to tell stories with ballet and music which is a great education for both the dancers and the audience.”
In many school districts, “Peter and the Wolf” is part of the first grade general music listening curriculum. MYB is collaborating with Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Appleton Area School District, and Fox Cities Performing Arts Center to bring “Peter and the Wolf” to area first graders in January 2020. They will take the piece beyond listening and actually see the bird dance as lightly as the music of the flute, and will observe how the movement of the duck matches the sounds of the oboe.
We also realize that access to classical ballet performances is limited. Tickets are often expensive and travel to Milwaukee, Chicago or beyond is prohibitive.
To give young children the opportunity to see classical ballet on stage with a live orchestra at the Fox Cities PAC is a rare opportunity. The collaboration of these organizations will make this educational performance accessible.
Having access to classical ballet in the Fox Cities, so often reserved for large metropolitan areas, makes our community a better place to live. We are fortunate to live in a community with a vibrant arts culture, and for young children to have the opportunity to be inspired by the talents of area students.
Tickets and more information are available at makaroffyouthballet.org.
You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.