Classical Springtime Ballet, “La Fille Mal Gardée,” to Take the Miller Center Stage May 11

Berks Ballet Theatre ushers in its Spring performance with a festive production of the classical ballet, La Fille Mal Gardée (The Wayward Daughter), rounding out the ballet company’s 48th season. Set in a picturesque French countryside village, the ballet tells the story of a young woman named Lise (danced by Kaitlyn Staskel, a Junior at Warwick High School in Lititz, Pa.) who falls in love with a young farmer named Colas (danced by Aaron Smyth). Lise is an only child to Simone, and overbearing mother and farm owner, who has other ambitious plans for her daughter.

The light-hearted and comedic tale of two young people in love was first presented in two acts in the late-1700’s by the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in France. Its many adaptations have influenced the work of prominent ballet companies around the world. Berks Ballet Theatre’s version is based on Frederick Ashton’s ballet with new staging and choreography by BBT’s Artistic Director, Kelly Barber

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The Ballet features two acts danced by the company’s 21 company dancers along with world-renowned professional, Aaron Smyth, who appeared in the role of the Cavalier in BBT’s ’22 and 23’ The Nutcracker ballets. Smyth is best known for his associations with American Ballet Theatre II In New York, The Royal Ballet in London, and The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Reading-area performer, Michael Dietrich joins the company as Widow Simone. Matthew Brunner dances the role of Thomas, and Christopher Paolini as Alain. Brunner and Paolini are also performers based in the Reading area.

La Fille Mal Gardée has a special history with BBT as the ballet had been mounted several times by the company throughout the 1980’s and 90’s by its Founding Director, Carol Ennis. Of the ballet, she says, “It’s a fun ballet, not very heavy. My Associate Director Bob Sheridan danced the role of Widow Simone in 1988 & 1990, and he was hysterical dancing the Clog Dance. My husband never laughed so hard.”

In addition to the hilarity of the Clog Dance, audiences will delight in the vibrant French countryside scenery and traditional maypole dance sequences.

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There’s just one chance to see the show on Saturday May 11th at 7:30pm at the Miller Center for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased at

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Berks Weekly
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