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Albany Berkshire Ballet Receives Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) Project Grant For “Rockwell in Our Time”

Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund Awards $2,500 for a New, Original Ballet

(Pittsfield, MA – September 26, 2018) The Albany Berkshire Ballet has been awarded a project grant of $2,500 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Cultural Investment Portfolio for the continued development of the new work Rockwell in Our Timeby choreographer Mary Giannone Talmi.  Ms. Talmi is collaborating with playwright Kevin McGerigle and composer Christopher Culpo with additional choreography by Andres Ramirez and music by Ben Talmi.  The ballet is a multidisciplinary work inspired by Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” that moves forward and backward in time reflecting WWII America and our current national reality.

“Rockwell in Our Timeis the natural extension of the successful arts and education program, Norman Rockwell Dances!,that served 3,440 Berkshire County elementary and middle school students in 11 schools and 2 summer camps,” says Board President Alison LaRocca.

Rockwell in Our Timeis an ambitious initiative that will require Albany Berkshire Ballet to leverage funding from multiple sources including private donations, corporate sponsors, and philanthropy.   The Albany Berkshire Ballet has begun to raise funds from members and other supporters throughout the community. The funding will be used for the further development of this new work- its creation and premiere.

“The individuals that work together to produce a work of this magnitude are our greatest expense, but also our most critical resource. Our choreographer, dancers, rehearsal mistress, composer, musicians, playwright, costume designer, set designer, production crew, community participants, and administrators devote their time and talent to successfully creating and showcasing this collaboration,” commented Madeline Culpo, Artistic Director and Founder of Albany Berkshire Ballet. She added, “Our next greatest expense is the physical production of the materials necessary to frame the movement and artistic vision. These elements include sets, costumes, sound, lighting, educational materials, printed programs, insurance, fire safety, and promotional materials.”

“This funding will set the stage to complete this ambitious project,” adds Board President LaRocca. “We are continuing a tradition that began 40 years ago to educate the public, particularly in under-served areas that do not always have easy access to the performing arts.”

Rockwell in Our Time is part of ABB’s new Process and Performance project to build new repertory. We have beautiful, highly trained professional dancers and creative partners that we have brought together to create this new ballet. With this work, we are ushering in a new era for the company and building upon its reputation for excellence. This is an exciting time for ABB’s growth and for dance in the Berkshires.

“Institutions like the Albany Berkshire Ballet are central to the quality of life in our community,” according to Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer. “This investment in an important local cultural resource by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Cultural Council creates tangible results in both economic activity and community vitality.”

The Albany Berkshire Ballet is nationally recognized for its versatility in performing both classical and contemporary dance works. The company’s classical repertory rivals that of any large company performing today with works created by some of ballet’s greatest choreographers including Igor Youskevitch, Michel Fokine, and Antony Tudor. The Albany Berkshire Ballet performs many full-length ballets, such as Giselle, Cinderella, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, and Romeo and Juliet, delighting audiences of all ages.

The Albany Berkshire Ballet will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019.  It is highly acclaimed for its support of newly emerging artists while working with esteemed contemporary choreographers such as Phillip Jerry, Francis Patrelle, Gus Solomons Jr., Mary Giannone Talmi, Bill T. Jones, and Paula Weber.

The funding agency is the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), a state agency supporting the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. The MCC pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. The Cultural Investment Portfolio (CIP) provides unrestricted general operating support grants and project support grants to nonprofit organizations that provide public programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities in Massachusetts.  CIP recognizes that organizations with an established record of programmatic service and administrative stability should have access to funds to support their organizational goals and objectives, and to maintain their ongoing programs, services, and facilities without special emphasis on new initiatives as justification for funding.

For more information on the Albany Berkshire Ballet, its repertoire, educational programs and community involvement, contact the Albany Berkshire Ballet at 413.445.5382, e-mail at or visit

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