Cable Access TV for Greenfield Massachusetts & Franklin County
become a fan on facebook
become a fan on facebook
see schedule
Thursday, August 08 2013

Pioneer Valley Ballet Offers Free Classes for Young Children

Adapted from a Pioneer Valley Ballet press release:

Pioneer Valley Ballet (PVB) is hosting its Fall Open House on August 24, 2013.  This free event will take place from 11am-1pm at their ballet studio in Easthampton, at the Eastworks Building, 116 Pleasant St., Suite 155.  Attendees will have opportunities to meet staff, tour the studio, register for school-year training programs, register to audition for The Nutcracker, and observe PVB’s advanced dancers in rehearsal.

Known for its twice-yearly opulent ballet productions including The Nutcracker, PVB’s Open House offers an excellent introduction to the training programs that create exceptional young dancers, the staff who make it possible, and the Artistic Directors, Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, who bring it all together.

Included are two free dance programs for young children and their caregivers:

11:15 Mommy & Me. A parent-child program for our littlest movers and shakers. Come try out this developmentally appropriate program. This half-hour free class is for children ages 3 - 5.  Taught by staff trainer Lisa Baldyga.

12:15 Pre-Ballet. For dancers ages 4 - 6, Pre-Ballet introduces children to classical ballet in a comfortable and exciting program. This half hour free class is for children who are ready to try a class on their own.  Taught by staff trainer Lisa Baldyga.


Lisa Baldyga Harty (Staff Trainer) is a 1988 graduate of the Julliard School with a BFA in Dance.  She has also studied at the Boston Conservatroy, Jacob’s Pillow, Jose Limon Institute, Skidmore College, and at various studios in New York City.  Her performing credits include the Julliard Dance Ensemble, Lincoln Center Institute, Jacob’s Pillow, Boston Dance Theatre, Riverside (New York) Arts Festival, Fieldston Performing Arts Institute, New England Dance Theatre, Olga Dunn Dance, and Dunaeff Damce Company.  Lisa was Director/Owner of Dance Arts, Westfield, MA for 15 years.  She has also served as Director of Dance at Suffield Academy, taught classes in ballet, modern, and teaching methods at Hartfod Conservatory and was local Rehearsal Mistress for Berkshire Ballet.


Maryanne Kodzis (Artistic Director) received her training from Gail Giere Collins at Pioneer Valley Ballet.  She began dancing at the age of four, and danced in the party scene of PVB’s first Nutcracker at the age of eight.  She received a full scholarship to the “Young Choreographers Conference” in New York at the age of 14.  She has performed throughout the country and extensively in Greater New England.  Credits include Berkshire Ballet, Laure Glenn Dance Company, William Soleau, Doug Varone, Connecticut Dance Theatre, Jin Win-Yu, and Contempo Dance.  She received her BFA in Dance from the University of Massachisetts and her MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College.  She has set choreography for many dance companies, schools, and colleges throughout Greater New England.  She has extensive experience in teaching Ballet and Dance History at the collegiate level including teaching at University of Massachusetts, Dean College, where she was on faculty for six years, and Smith College.


Thomas Vacanti (Artistic Director) trained with the Festival Ballet of New York, Boston Ballet, and Skidmore College.  In his professional career, he performed with dance companies throughout the United States and Central America including Ballet Florida, Tampa Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Mississippi, Ballet Michigan, North Atlantic Ballet, and the National Ballet of Panama.  In 1991, Thomas was one of ten American dancers selected to participate in the Soviet/American Exchange Program sponsored by Jacob’s Pillow (Becket, MA).  In this program he toured extensively throughout Russia performing contemporary and classic repertory.  In 2002, Thomas received his undergraduate degree in dance from Skidmore College and went on to complete his MFA in dance at Smith College in 2004.  He is currently a full-time faculty member at UMASS Amherst and adjunct faculty at Amherst College.


Pioneer Valley Ballet is a non-profit mission-based organization founded in 1972. Its mission is to provide pre-professional training and performance experience to dedicated young dancers, and to bring high quality dance performances to the community.  Programming includes year-round training opportunities for both casual and dedicated young dancers, two annual productions (including The Nutcracker) with student, community, and professional dancers, and extensive dance outreach to the community.

Pioneer Valley Ballet
116 Pleasant St, Ste 155
Easthampton, MA 01027
413-527-6363 |