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Ballet Theatre Company Will Give Hartford Public School Children Profesional Theater Experience

Dancer Emily Aubrey posing with outreach students at a previous event. Photo credit: Tracy Dorman

West Hartford’s Ballet Theatre Company will hold its second collaboration this season with Hartford Performs, bringing Hartford Public School children to a special showing of excerpts from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on Friday, May 3.

Dancer Fernanda Yamaguchi dancing for an in-studio performance. Photo credit: Tracy Dorman

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Ballet Theatre Company (BTC), West Harford’s Premier Ballet Company, will present the beloved classic fairytale, Sleeping Beauty, May 4 and 5 at the University of Saint Joseph Hoffman Auditorium. Before opening night, BTC will open the theater doors to local Hartford Public School students Friday morning to give them an opportunity to experience live performance in a professional setting. 

BTC, currently in its 20th anniversary season, has been offering outreach initiatives to students in the greater Hartford area since its beginning in 1999. Organizations such as Hillcrest Area Neighborhood Outreach Center, Miracle League of Connecticut, Gray Lodge The Shelter for Women, Burns-Latino Academy, Autism Families Connecticut, and Breakthrough II Magnet School have participated in BTC’s six-week dance class programs catered to teaching students of all ages and abilities different styles of dance.

Katie Bittner pictured as Princess Aurora, Photo credit: Ron Compton (courtesy photo)

For the past 16 years, BTC has collaborated with Hartford Performs each winter to present A Children’s Nutcracker, a shortened, student tailored performance of BTC’s annual production of The Nutcracker. Over 10,000 underserved greater Hartford children have had the opportunity to experience live professional performance through this collaboration.  

This May, BTC is thrilled to partner with Hartford Performs for a second time this season and offer a student outreach performance of Sleeping Beauty to Hartford Public School children at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 3.

Students who attend this unique performance will be bused from local Hartford Public Schools to the University of Saint Joseph Hoffman Auditorium to enjoy a performance of the The Wedding Scene, which is the final act of the four act ballet, Sleeping Beauty. BTC’s Artistic Director, Stephanie Dattellas, decided to present this final act for the outreach performance as it introduces familiar story book characters including Little Red Riding Hood and the Gray Wolf, Puss-n-Boots and the White Cat, and Princess Florine and Bluebird in a compilation of celebratory, energetic, witty, and fun variations.

This experience of live professional performance not only gives community children a live theater experience, but it inspires future dancers, singers, production managers, lighting designers, and theater supporters. It is an experience that the students and dancers alike truly enjoy.

Fernanda Yamaguchi, an out of state professional currently residing in New York City and returning for her third season to perform with BTC, explains the outreach performing experience as, “Always really rewarding.” She says, “I remember last Nutcracker season when I first came out on stage wearing a red tutu and I heard a gasp from the kids in the audience, it was priceless!” The sound of genuine joy coming from the young audience is enough for professional dancers to return season after season, and the level of energy that fills the auditorium is a rewarding experience to the students in the productions who know they are making a difference in community children’s lives.

Ballet Theatre Company, founded in 1999, is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization and is one of the few professional ballet companies serving the greater Hartford community. Its passion is to create family-oriented entertainment while offering opportunities for local professional, pre-professional, and student dancers to perform classical and premiere works with national and international guest artists. Learn more about BTC at www.dancebtc.org and stay up to date with current happenings by following BTC on Facebook and Instagram @dancebtc. Ballet Theatre Company is supported in part by Greater Hartford Arts Council, The Edward C. and Anne T. Roberts Foundation, and the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts.

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