West Hartford-based Ballet Theatre Company will be auditioning prospective members on Aug. 27.
After 22 years of providing high-quality arts experiences to the Greater Hartford community, Ballet Theatre Company (BTC), located in West Hartford, is thrilled to announce the inauguration of a company of resident dancers for its 23rd performance season.
Since its inception, Ballet Theatre Company has aimed to create opportunities for professional dancers and artists in the Greater Hartford area and is thrilled that it is now possible to take this enormous stride towards cultivating consistent work for local professionals.
“As a founder of BTC, I have watched and guided the company as it transformed from a small ensemble of dancers with no specific goals or plans, into a strong company capable of taking on anything. It’s both exciting and somewhat terrifying, to reach this incredible feat after 22 years,” said Tracy Dorman, BTC’s executive director and lead costumer. “Each milestone, we have survived and grown. This new resident company of professional dancers shows the incredible achievement attained by hard work and dedication by our staff and artists. This is truly an accomplishment that the entire community can be proud of.”
The creation of a professional dance company, referred to as BTC’s “Professional Dancers in Residence,” signifies a new level of professionalism at Ballet Theatre Company. BTC’s artistic director will hire and provide jobs for ten professional dancers at a competitive wage – a boon to the local ballet performance scene. Hiring professional dancers at a fair wage is an act of equity. By offering a contract of 32-34 weeks with a biweekly stipend and shoe allowance. As a small but growing company, BTC is setting a new standard of excellence in a field where working for free is commonly expected (especially of young professionals). BTC is proud to take a step towards allowing local dancers to thrive while also supporting themselves.
Establishing a resident dance company also benefits the Greater Hartford community by providing more public performances opportunities and personal interaction with dancers while contributing to the sustainability of professional ballet in the area.
The new professional company will be led by Artistic Director Stephanie Dattellas, alongside Artistic Advisors Maria Terezia Balogh and Paul Mejia.
Balogh was the protege of the great American ballerina, Maria Tallchief, and went on to become a principal dancer with Lyric Opera Ballet (later known as Chicago City Ballet) and Fort Worth Dallas Ballet. During her performing career, Balogh performed a repertoire of over 30 principal roles by choreographers including George Balanchine, Maria Tallchief, Paul Mejia, and Jerome Robbins. She has since served as repetiteur, ballet mistress, and master instructor for many prominent companies and schools across the United States.
Mejia performed with New York City Ballet, where he danced and originated many principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine. Among many other accomplishments, Mejia co-directed at Chicago City Ballet with Maria Tallchief, directed at Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, and currently serves as Artistic Advisor to the Metropolitan Classical Ballet. Ms. Balogh & Mr. Mejia will share their rich knowledge and experiences with the resident professional dancers through teaching weekly company class, coaching and rehearsing the dancers, and setting repertoire.
“As BTC’s Artistic Director, learning from and working with such established and talented members of the dance community is an incredible privilege,” said Dattellas. “I can’t wait to see how these dancers will flourish under Maria & Paul’s tutelage, and as a result, watch the company propel forward.”
Dancers selected to join the resident company will be involved in two full-length, classical ballet, mainstage repertoire performances (with the opportunity to perform soloist or lead roles), 2 neoclassical performances in an intimate blackbox theatre setting, and several smaller performances at local festivals and events.
An audition to select dancers will be held at BTC’s 20 Jefferson Ave location on Aug. 27 from 1:30-5 p.m. To reserve their place at the audition, interested dancers should send a headshot, full-body dance photo, resume, updated performance reel, and COVID-19 vaccine card (can be provided onsite if preferred) to BTC Ballet Mistress Emily Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ballet Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. It is supported in part by Ron and Nancy Compton, The State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, The Greater Hartford Arts Council, The Hoffman Foundation, The Long Foundation, The Ensworth Charitable Foundation, The Edward C and Ann T Roberts Foundation, Laurel Graphic Design, Cricket Press and We-Ha.com.
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