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Arts Entertainment Lifestyle Reader Contributed

Dancing Through COVID-19 in West Hartford – and Virtually

Sarah Nair participating in #StretchSaturday. Submitted photo

Dancing Alone Together: #Movementmonday video has been created by dancers of West Hartford-based Ballet Theatre Company’s Corps de ballet.

Submitted

For the past several days, everyone has been experiencing a different way of living due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst all of this turmoil, Ballet Theatre Company (BTC), West Hartford’s premiere ballet company, has worked tirelessly to continue to keep it’s students active and to keep the magic of the performing arts alive – even if it is in home living rooms.

One of BTC’s parents writes, “It should not go unnoticed by any of us that during this unprecedented time it is our artists who are giving to all of us so generously. The outpouring of actors reading stories, museums opening to virtual tours, dance classes online, drawing classes – everything for FREE. In our most isolated times, it is the art community that we are turning to.”

BTC couldn’t agree more. To help brighten these days of quarantine, BTC has created an online “Dancing At-Home Guide” of pre-recorded ballet classes, cross-training exercises, ballet-inspired activities, and fun virtual games for students.

Each day is assigned an activity; Movement Monday, Technique Tuesday, Workout Wednesday, Theraband Thursday, Fun Friday, and Stretch Saturday (who doesn’t love some good alliteration). Activities are outlined on BTC’s website and include pre-recorded videos, printable worksheets, and ways to share and connect with the community to keep spirits lifted.

Lily participates in “Technique Tuesday.” Submitted photo

Pictured above is BTC student and West Hartford resident, Lilly Jacobson participating in #TechniqueTuesday practicing along with one of BTC’s virtual pre-recorded dance classes. BTC offers level specific videos that dancers can use to practice their skills and technique at home at any time.

The Rucker sisters participate in Theraband Thursday. Submitted photo

Pictured above are sisters Reiss and Avery Rucker, both BTC students and West Hartford residents, participating in #TherabandThursday.

BTC student Sarah Nair, in the feature photo, is participating in #StretchSaturday. Check out that split!

Kyla Cheng participates in a fun Friday activity. Submitted photo

Pictured above is BTC student and West Hartford resident, Kyla Cheng participating in BTC’s March 20 #FunFriday activity: Be A Costume Designer. Her design features a woodland creature who is smart and resourceful. Kyla would like to someday see Season Dancer Fernanda Yamaguchi wear her design.

On Monday, BTC announced its second #MovementMonday challenge titled “Dancing Alone Together” prompting its students, faculty, and supporters to create and record a dance set to music that brings motivation and inspiration to light in otherwise dismal times. BTC’s Corps de Ballet and Senior dancers kicked off this challenge in a collaborative effort pre-recording individual #MovementMonday sequences that were compiled together in one video setting the premise for other dancers to participate and share their own creations. Participants uploaded their works to social media platforms tagging Ballet Theatre Company (@dancebtc) and using hashtags such as #DancingthroughCovid19 and #westhARTford in order to spread smiles throughout the community.

New to this week, BTC has joined the now popular Zoom app and is offering virtual evening classes to its students in all levels. BTC will also offer a LIVE Ballet Bingo on Friday afternoon as part of one of its #FunFriday activities.

BTC’s Corps de Ballet and Ballet V students after participating in an online virtual ballet class. Submitted photo

Pictured above are BTC’s Corps de Ballet and Ballet V students after participating in an online virtual ballet class with three of BTC’s Artistic Director and two faculty members Monday evening.

The urgent need for social distancing has been met with difficulty for many and many turn to the arts in times of struggle. As a 501(c)(3) arts organization and a strong advocate of the arts in our world, BTC hopes to be a source of light for those struggling in these uncertain times. However, without our patrons’ support there is an unfortunate possibility BTC may not survive an extended closure, and any donation, no matter how small, would be appreciated in order to provide BTC the ability to continue its mission of serving the Greater Hartford community and bring inspiration to life and smiles to faces.

Since its founding in 1999, BTC has staged over 75 ballet productions, has trained nearly 1,000  aspiring dancers, and has made dance accessible to over 10,000 underserved Greater Hartford children. BTC is supported in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, Cricket Press, and Hearst Connecticut Media Group. Stay connected with BTC on Facebook and Instagram (@dancebtc) and be sure to check out BTC’s website to participate in weekly movement-inspired activities.

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