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Ballet Theatre Company to Open West Hartford Studio for World Ballet Day

2023-2024 Ballet Theatre Company Company dancers (from left): Zoe Simons, Isabella Warshaw, Sarah Berglund, Liza van Heerden, Jo-ann Burke, Emily Silva, and Abigale Bilodeau, Photo by Thomas Giroir

World Ballet Day is Wednesday, Nov. 1.


On Nov. 1, Ballet Theatre Company (BTC) is opening its studios to the community to celebrate World Ballet Day.

From 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., all are invited to join BTC’s professional dancers and artistic staff to experience a typical day of a professional ballet dancer. Observe their company class from 10:30 a.m.-noon, followed by rehearsals for their upcoming performances at The Bushnell that include the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. No admission fee, but please RSVP!

Ten years ago, the most prestigious ballet companies in the world decided to create an experience that would allow anyone to get an insider’s view into dance companies around the globe. World Ballet Day became an instant hit. The event is accessed through a series of live streams that let the general public see “morning class and rehearsals, get a sneak peek of upcoming performances and observe ballet’s biggest stars at work.”

Over 50 of the most popular ballet companies participate including; The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Hong Kong Ballet, English National Ballet, and many more. As Jarryd Madden, Senior Artist at The Australian Ballet puts it perfectly: “It’s the part of ballet you don’t see when you go to a ballet. It shines the light on what ballet really is.”

Dancers train for several years before earning a place in a company as a professional ballet dancer. A typical schedule for a pre-professional dancer is 12-15 hours of class accompanied by 15 hours of rehearsal. However, even after a student becomes a professional, the work never stops. In 2020, dance was ranked the most physically demanding job in the U.S through analyzed data from the Occupational Information Network, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration. They analyzed the level of strength, stamina, flexibility and coordination required for a host of jobs that included steel workers, roofers, firefighters, and construction laborers, and dancers came out on top.

Now in its 25th Season, BTC is Connecticut’s leading ballet organization that contracts a roster of resident dancers who train and rehearse throughout the performance season. BTC’s resident company was first launched in 2021, and is the only professional ballet company in the state of Connecticut offering its roster of professional dancers a steady wage.

This year’s roster includes dancers from all over. New artists include: Zoe Simons (San Rafael, California), Elizabeth van Heerden (Cape Town, South Africa), Isabella Warshaw (Seattle, Washington), Abigale Bilodeau (South Reading, Massachusetts), Sarah Berglund (Dallas, Texas). BTC also welcomes back Jo-ann Burke (South Windsor, Connecticut), Emily Aubrey Silva (Sandown, New Hampshire), and guest artist Sarah McCahill (Harwinton, Connecticut).

As part of BTC’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, Artistic Director Stephanie Dattellas wanted to engage the community by creating the company’s own version of World Ballet Day. “Audiences may be surprised and fascinated by the extent of  hard work and commitment that goes on behind the scenes in order to create the effortless beauty they see on stage,” explains Dattellas. “The studio is where the magic begins.”

Ballet Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization located at 20 Jefferson Ave, West Hartford, CT. Please enter the building on the Darcy Street side, straight across from the Home Depot parking lot. To RSVP, and for more information on parking please visit, dancebtc.org/community-events.

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