HARWICH PORT — Kyla Potoczny soars through the air with grace at full stretch during the Cape Cod Ballet Theatre’s rehearsal for “Ballet, Broadway and Beyond,” which opens June 18. It will be the theater’s first live production since December 2019.
There are fresh nerves after a two-year absence from the stage, but there’s also real excitement that comes with being back under the lights.
“I enjoy going out in front of people and showing them what we’ve been practicing,” says Eve Pearson, age nine, from Brewster. “Ballet makes my day better, and I always get so happy from being able to do it.”
Students at the ballet theater’s school range in age from three-and-a-half to 18 years. The dancers’ athleticism and enthusiasm were both evident at their Saturday rehearsal in the school’s space, which is nestled behind the books in the back building at the Harwich Port Library.
Sabine Krum, 17, lives in Eastham and is preparing to bring Louis Prima’s 1936 hit “Sing, Sing, Sing” to life at the show.
The intensity of her duet with Phebe Lowry adds drama to the performance. Their acrobatic moves look difficult, but Krum says training makes it possible to do “what your body usually shouldn’t do.”
The school is a comfortable place for Krum. “This is my second home and my second family,” she says, and being on stage after the pandemic interrupted performances for two years feels to her like a rare privilege. It is, she says, “like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.”
The notes dance crisply through the air as Eastham’s Madeline Schnitzer, 15, transforms into a majestic blue bird for her solo performance. Schnitzer pauses, then extends her arms like wings before striking a pose. On her toes, she turns, twirls, and flutters with innocence and purpose as the music crescendos.
“We perform for ourselves, and we perform for the audience,” Schnitzer says. “We do it because we love it.
“I remember when I was really little, watching the older girls do their solos and thinking, ‘Wow, if only I could be that good,’ ” she says. “To be here today and have that role is really special, and I’m very grateful and proud of where I am as a performer.”
Schnitzer’s passion for ballet flows through her performance. On stage, she becomes her character completely.
“Performing truly gives meaning to what we’re all doing,” says Phebe Lowry, 16, who lives in Dennis. Being on stage again is “really cool,” she says, not least because “performing is what we’ve practiced to do all our lives.”
Lowry’s ability as a ballerina is elevated by the trust she has in her fellow performers. With her left hand reaching backward, her weight is perfectly counterbalanced by her partner, who is doing the same in the opposite direction. This bond of music and movement is tied together with the confidence that they will be in sync — even when eye contact is not possible.
“You know you’re doing it right when you make it look easy,” says Lowry. Ballet, is about movement, she says, “but it’s also a way to express all the different parts of your life creatively and abstractly.”