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Ballet Hartford to Premiere Two Original Holiday-Themed Ballet Performances in West Hartford

Poster Painting by Lucy Rahner. Courtesy image

Ballet Hartford will present two back-to-back holiday-themed performances on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford.


Ballet Hartford is proud to present two original, newly choreographed ballet performances, featuring holiday themes, on stage in the Hoffman Auditorium on the campus of the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, with two performances on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The World Premiere of “A Ceremony of Carols,” featuring the choreography of Ballet Hartford’s Resident Choreographer Claire Kretzschmar, will be seen with “Holiday Happenings,” choreographed by Leyna Doran, Artistic Director of Ballet Hartford. Tickets are now on sale for the twin-bill, with both premiere ballets to be performed by Ballet Hartford in the afternoon and evening.

“We are in the midst of an exciting season, offering our community and audiences innovative and memorable performances,” said Ballet Hartford Artistic Director Leyna Doran, now in her fifth season leading the company. “It is truly a joy, bringing our collective talents and creativity to exciting premieres. And it has been a joy working with an accomplished professional and an expanded company of dancers.”

“I’m really excited to be choreographing a new ballet set to Benjamin Britten’s music, ‘A Ceremony of Carols,’ which will showcase the talented dancers of Ballet Hartford while illuminating scenes from the nativity story,” explains Claire Kretzschmar. “I just fell in love with this music, and I want to make this something special associated with the holiday season. I believe it will really grab your heart, tapping into the joys and sorrows of motherhood, and so much more.”

Claire Kretzschmar, a skilled dancer, teacher, choreographer, podcast host and former soloist with New York City Ballet (NYCB) is Ballet Hartford’s Resident Choreographer this fall.

With New York City Ballet, she performed featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Alexei Ratmansky, Justin Peck, and Kyle Abraham. She currently co-hosts the “The Rosin Box” segment of NYCB’s podcast.

Kretzschmar worked with Ballet Hartford earlier this year, resetting the choreography of “Peter and the Wolf,” to the delight of audiences. She is enthusiastic about spending more time with Ballet Hartford, developing the world premiere of “A Ceremony of Carols.”

“Holiday Happenings” is a ballet inspired by the music of Vince Guaraldi, an American jazz pianist best-known for his iconic compositions for Charlie Brown animations. The ballet, developed and choreographed by Ballet Hartford Artistic Director Leyna Doran, consists of several winter-themed scenes from outdoor skating to Christmas carolers and heartwarming gatherings in a cozy home. Guaraldi’s mellow and melodic tunes bring a beautiful sense of nostalgia and comfort to the ballet and draw delightful contrasts to the dancers’ syncopated and elongated movements. The ballet will include members of the Ballet Hartford company and young dancers attending the School of Ballet Hartford.

Throughout the year, with professional dancers from Connecticut and across the United States, Ballet Hartford produces engaging programs that uphold tradition and celebrate innovation, highlighted by technically and artistically diverse choreographic works. The company has received national and international recognition, and continues to grow in stature with increasing acclaim from local and regional audiences.

As the reputation of Ballet Hartford has noticeably grown, dancers have been attracted to the company by the caliber, creativity and camaraderie that characterizes Ballet Hartford. Last year’s company of 15 dancers has now grown to 25 at the start of the current season, the largest number since the inception of Ballet Hartford.

Earlier this month, Ballet Hartford performed “The Nutcracker: Short and Suite” to enthusiastic sold-out audiences at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown, with three performances on November 19.

Ballet Hartford’s home at the 224 EcoSpace holds great significance within the Connecticut dance community as this facility once housed the Hartford Ballet. Overseen by Reverend Lydell Brown, the 224 EcoSpace is a premier arts, health and wellness social enterprise located on Farmington Avenue in Hartford.

For tickets and additional information about Ballet Hartford, visit www.ballethartford.com.

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