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Berkshires Beat: Albany Berkshire Ballet Receives Grant For 'Rockwell in Our Time'
02:08PM / Monday, October 01, 2018
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Dancers from the Albany Berkshire Ballet debuted their new dance piece inspired by Norman Rockwell's 'Four Freedoms' paintings at Norman Rockwell Museum on Sept. 8 as part of the museum's Four Freedoms Festival.

Rockwell in dance

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 Time" by choreographer Mary Giannone Talmi. 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 World War II America and our current national reality.

"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," said Madeline Culpo, artistic director and founder of Albany Berkshire Ballet. "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."

"Rockwell in Our Time" is 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 Albany Berkshire Ballet is nationally recognized for its versatility in performing both classical and contemporary dance works. It 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.


Trailblazer 5K

The natural beauty of the Clark Art Institute's campus sets the stage for the annual Trailblazer 5K on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 9 a.m. Run or walk up the summit of Stone Hill and on the trails through meadows and woodlands. Awards are given to the top male and female runners in age groups.

The entrance fee is $30 ($25 for Clark members) plus $2 processing fee. To register, click here. Day-of-race pick-up and registration start at 8 am.

Devin Kibbe, co-owner of North Adams Yoga, offers a thirty-minute warm-up for race participants at 8:30 am. No yoga mat is required. Nature's Closet of Williamstown hosts a race gear market before and after the race. Proceeds from the race go towards maintenance of the trails on the Clark's campus and the extended Williamstown trail network, supported by the Rural Lands Foundation.


Pittsfield tree sought

Do you have a tree that would be perfect to donate and serve as the city of Pittsfield's official holiday tree at Park Square? If so, the Pittsfield Department of Community Development Recreation Program would like to hear from you.

Criteria used to select the city's official holiday tree includes: minimum height of approximately 30 feet, superior shape, ease of access to the tree for cutting, adequate room to safely fall the tree and ease of transporting the tree.

Screening and selection of trees will take place the week of Oct. 29. Cutting and installation of the tree at Park Square will be scheduled shortly after the selection. Interested parties should contact Becky Manship, recreation activities coordinator, no later than Oct. 26 at 413-499-9371 or via email.


McCann Tea Room opening

The McCann Tea Room will be open to the public beginning Tuesday, Oct. 2. Hours will be from 10:45 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Culinary Arts students will serve soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts. Brunch buffets are scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4, and Thursday, Dec. 6.


Crafters sought

The United Methodist Church of Lenox, 6 Holmes Road, Lenox, is seeking vendors for the Fall Craft Fair to be held on Saturday, Nov. 18. All vendors must sell crafts that they have made. There are still openings for spaces. Call 413-464-2659 with questions and to reserve a space.


Williams NIH grant

A Williams College professor has been awarded a three-year $369,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research with his undergraduate students that may yield insights into how the brain suppresses appetite after overeating, or during illnesses like cancer or clinical depression.

Matt Carter, assistant professor of biology, and his students have found that during periods of overconsumption of food, gastrointestinal distress, or illness in animals, certain neurons known as parasubthalamic nucleus (PSTN) neurons suppress appetite and decrease food-seeking behavior. Carter will use the NIH funding to closely study and characterize the role of PSTN neurons in feeding behavior.

More than half the U.S. population is considered overweight, and the aggregate economic cost is estimated to exceed $60 billion per year. Meanwhile, undernourishment is also a substantial problem, with abnormal appetite suppression, as can occur during infection, old age, and cancer, leading to dangerously low body weight and malnutrition.


BFAIR review

Berkshire Family & Individual Resources had a successful review and continued licensing by the Office of Quality Enhancement of the commonwealth's Department of Developmental Services. Through a self-assessment process and a target review, BFAIR earned positive licensing outcomes. The eight critical indicators reviewed met the standards set forth by the Department.

These positive outcomes resulted in a two-year licensing and certification for BFAIR's residential, individual home support, and day and employment services. "BFAIR's outcomes on reviews and assessments like these are indicative of the work that we do," said Theresa Gelinas, director of Program Operations for Day Services. "Receiving positive accolades and continued licensing speaks to our commitment to consistency in quality services."


BArT Students Excel

Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School announces results of the spring 2018 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests. Last year's tests are accompanied now by a new system of accountability.

On average, BArT middle school students grew more in ELA and Math than their academic peers across the state. Some key highlights from BArT's results include:

* BArT high school students exceeded achievement targets set by the state across all assessed subjects (English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and Science).

* 100 percent of BArT 10th-grade students scored proficient or advanced on the 10th-grade ELA exam.

* Ninety-six percent of BArT 10th-grade students scored proficient or advanced on the 10th-grade science exam.

* Ninety-four percent of BArT 10th-grade students scored proficient or advanced on the 10th-grade math exam.

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