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Join BTC for Two World Premieres in ‘Up Close: Spring’

BTC's Resident Company performs Apres Degas in Up Close: Winter 2024. Photo credit: M. Semenza Photography (courtesy of BTC)

Ballet Theatre Company will premiere two new works at its West Hartford studio in March.

BTC Resident Choreographer Derek Brockington poses with BTC’s Resident Company in the performance space. Brockington’s full new work, Starburst, will premiere in Up Close: Spring. Photo courtesy of BTC


As part of its 25th Anniversary celebration, Ballet Theatre Company (BTC) is proud to present two world premieres in its next performance, Up Close: Spring. The intimate, mixed-repertoire performance series, Up Close: Spring, will be the final Up Close performance of BTC’s Season 25, and will be presented in the Ron and Nancy Compton Studio March 9-10, 2024.

A staple of BTC’s offerings, Up Close performances offer the unique chance to view BTC’s dancers at close range, giving a completely new perspective on ballet, and appealing to new and returning audience members alike. While dance in a traditional theater setting is thrilling, hearing the dancers’ breath and shoes on the floor, and watching them prepare in the “wings” between each entrance brings audience members enchanting insight into the physicality behind this powerful art form.

“From the seats in a theater, ballet always seems effortless …,” explains a patron of Up Close: Winter this January. “I find that up close one can see how hard the dancers work and therefore can appreciate the artistry that much more.”

After an exciting sneak-peek of the work at Up Close: Fall, BTC’s Up Close: Spring performance series will feature the full premiere of resident choreographer Derek Brockington’s Starburst. Brockington, a dancer with world-renowned company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, has also been a long-time guest dancer with BTC, and first choreographed for the company in 2021. As BTC’s first-ever resident choreographer, Brockington began working with the company dancers in early September, and has since returned throughout the season to continue developing and fine-tuning Starburst in anticipation of its March premiere.

“I’ve challenged myself to use music composed by Black artists,” explains Brockington. “I find that the music tells another side of history with personal stories that influence the sound. The music for the first movement is composed by Jessie Montgomery, a prominent new Black female composer. This music is bright and full of vitality, representing joy for me. The second piece is composed by William Grant Still, a prolific artist with over 200 rarely used works. As we begin to create the other movements, we will delve into the other themes.”

In addition to the premiere of Brockington’s Starburst, the performance will also feature a new work by resident dancer Elizabeth van Heerden. Van Heerden was selected as part of an initiative newly-launched last spring by Artistic Director Stephanie Dattellas that gives BTC’s resident professional dancers the opportunity to choreograph a piece on its Junior Corps de Ballet. Interested dancers are invited to submit a choreographic proposal and one dancer is selected to choreograph and present their work as part of Up Close.

Though Dattellas now has a repertoire of full-length ballets in her choreographic arsenal, she recognizes and highly values the impact of choreographic opportunities in addition to performance for interested dancers early on in their careers. Dattellas explains, “If I was never given a chance to choreograph, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wanted to pay that forward.”

Patrons attending Up Close: Winter 2024 enjoy the performance. Photo credit: M. Semenza Photography (courtesy of BTC)


Up Close: Spring will be presented in three performances: Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 10 at 2 p.m. All performances will take place in the Ron and Nancy Compton Studio located at Ballet Theatre Company, 20 Jefferson Ave., West Hartford.

Tickets are $40 online and $45 at the door. We encourage those interested to purchase tickets online as seating is very limited. To purchase tickets please visit, https://dancebtc.org/up-close. Please contact [email protected] or call the office at 860-570-0440 with any questions.

Ballet Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Up Close is sponsored by Taylor Rental. Support for Season 25 is provided by: Connecticut Humanities. CT Office of the Arts, The Maximilian E. & Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, The J. Walton Bissell Foundation, The William & Alice Mortensen Foundation, Ahearn Family Foundation, The Ellen Jeanne Goldfarb Memorial Charitable Trust, The Davenport Hatch Foundation, Henry Hall Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A. Trustee, The Buchalter and Breslow Family, The John and Kelly Hartman Foundation, The Petit Family Foundation, The Robert & Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation, The Ensworth Charitable Trust, We-Ha.com, Laurel Graphic Design, Cricket Press, Connecticut Public, Massage Envy West Hartford, Homestead Funding, Theatrical Stage Employees Local 84, and Beam & Barre.

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