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Innovation and Impact Continue as Hallmark of Sonia Plumb Dance Company; Regional Asset Promotes Dance and Opportunity

Sonia Plumb. Photo by Gian Carlo (courtesy photo)

Multiple new grants will support ongoing creative work, and allow for exploration of expanded programs.

Sonia Plumb Dance performing at The Bushnell in 2018. Photo by Carrie Ricciardelli (courtesy photo)


Approaching its 30th anniversary, the highly regarded Sonia Plumb Dance Company (SPDC) continues to break new ground that integrates artistic talent in distinctive ways and creates original multi-media dance that provides engaging educational opportunities for students and memorable experiences for audiences.

To further its innovative work and extend its impact, these past few months SPDC, led since its inception by Artistic Director Sonia Plumb, has earned an Excellence in the Arts grant from the Roberts Foundation, a personal Connecticut Office of the Arts Artist Fellowship Grant, a Hartford Youth Jobs Grant through the City of Hartford and the Greater Hartford Arts Council, an Ignition grant from the Greater Hartford Arts Council, an Artist’s Fund grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts, and additional grant funding from The Betty Knox Foundation.

Acclaimed for its integration of multi-media artistic endeavors in original works performed to enthusiastic audiences, educational programs that bridge history, science and math, literature and the arts, and creating solid foundations for apprentices to pursue careers in dance and choreography, the Sonia Plumb Dance Company is in the midst of reaffirming that strong tradition.

“This support is pivotal as we move forward, providing us with a continuing vote of confidence in the caliber of the work we undertake and the impact it has across the community,” said Sonia Plumb. “We are grateful for the commitment of these organizations, appreciative that we earn their backing, as well as the support of people and organizations across the region who value the performances we develop and deliver.”

Most recently, SPDC ventured internationally for the first time, completing a week-long residency at the Ross Creek Arts Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada to begin the creative process for a new work, Penelope’s Odyssey. The residency included full time access to the Centre’s dance studio, in the context of the magnificent Nova Scotia environment.

Penelope’s Odyssey is inspired by Penelope’s story and point of view in Homer’s The Odyssey. In 2015, SPDC focused on the story of Odysseus and his adventures as he traveled back to his homeland of Ithaca from the Trojan War. Now, Sonia Plumb looks at the iconic story in a new way – through Penelope’s eyes. “It was a time when women weren’t allowed to rule on their own. It is only through her ‘cunning and virtuosity’ that Penelope hangs on as Queen for so long. This theme strikes a familiar chord and is still relevant, though often subtly, in many of today’s cultures, including our own.”

The SPDC Apprentice Training Program, established in 2016 with a cornerstone grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, provides opportunities for talented high school graduates who lack the economic resources to attend a collegiate dance program to be paid to study and work with SPDC, developing the skills needed for a career in dance performing, teaching and arts administration.

This year, SPDC is one of two Hartford arts organizations to receive a Hartford Youth Jobs Grant in support of this program, and it is the third time that The Betty Knox Foundation has supported the program. The three grants – $3,000 from the Greater Hartford Arts Council (GHAC), $1,500 from The Betty Knox Foundation and $3,000 from the Hartford Youth Jobs Grant – further the Apprentice Training Program and the SPDC.

The GHAC planning grant will assist in evaluating plans to expand the levels of in-class training, teacher preparation and career counseling, as well as possible alliances with local educational institutions.

“We are tremendously proud of the role we play in the region, and we are confident that even more can be accomplished. Our apprentice graduates are performing and teaching with multiple companies in the area, creating more opportunities for themselves and the people they work with,” said Plumb. “There’s no limit on what young people can accomplish, if given the opportunity. We look forward to being that catalyst.”

The performance-in-progress, Penelope’s Odyssey, will include underwater video of Odysseus “locked” in Poseidon’s Prison, music by the female singing duo Rising Appalachia, costumes by Chynnere McPherson and a cast of 24, including 12 men playing the role of Suitors. A $7,500 from The Roberts Foundation has provided initial funding for this project.

Sonia Plumb Dance Company (SPDC) was formed nearly 30 years ago with a mission “to enrich, educate, and connect diverse audiences through innovative modern dance.” SPDC serves diverse audiences statewide through live performances; K-12 arts education; community engagement events; collegiate and professional level classes; movement programs for children with autism, and dance apprenticeships for talented high school graduates lacking the socio-economic resources to attend college level dance programs.

As the highly-regarded creative work of SPDC continues with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts and other generous funders, the impact of its cultural contributions to the region continue to thrive.

For more information, visitwww.SoniaPlumbDance.org.

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