1969: Berkshire Civic Ballet Delights – #50History, Part 2

#50History continued! Part 2:

The efforts to build the professional dance company we know today as Albany Berkshire Ballet were a gradual and ongoing process throughout the 60s, beginning with the formation of the Berkshire Ballet Guild as an outgrowth of the Cantarella School in 1960. By the end of the decade, a small nucleus of board members had been assembled flanking Miss Madeline’s formative artistic direction in some early performance offerings locally in the city of Pittsfield.

But it was in 1969 that “Berkshire Civic Ballet” (-Later “Berkshire Ballet,” then “Albany Berkshire Ballet”) fully emerged and established itself as a recognized 501 nonprofit and performing dance company. 

This week we took a closer look at some materials in the ABB company archives from that foundational year.

A highly anticipated May performance at “South Junior High”- now known as Herberg Middle School, in Pittsfield- showcased a variety of repertory, from “Songs of the Auvergne,” “Gigues Triestes,” “Les Sylphides Pas De Deux”

– and earned a glowing review from the Berkshire Eagle’s Richard V. Happel (a local legend in his own right).

The program’s back cover gives a glimpse at the company’s earliest board of directors, chaired by Mrs. Silvio O. Conte.

It was a strong season for the fledgling company, from start to finish, and by late 1969 Berkshire Civic Ballet was preparing new works to perform for Spring competition in Toronto (more on that later).

This is the second of 50 looks back at ABB’s origin story and half century legacy, one each week as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary throughout 2019.