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West Hartford Student to Perform in ‘Breakdancing Shakespeare’

Lili St. Amand of West Hartford will appear in Breakdancing Shakespeare. Submitted photo

Hall High School student Lili St. Amand is one of 15 cast members in the Hartford Stage Young Company performance of ‘Breakdancing Shakespeare.’

Lili St. Amand of West Hartford will appear in Breakdancing Shakespeare. Submitted photo

Lili St. Amand of West Hartford will appear in Breakdancing Shakespeare. Submitted photo


Hartford Stage Young Company, in conjunction with the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios, has announced the cast and performance dates for “Breakdancing Shakespeare.”

In celebration of its tenth year of the program, the company will stage a new production of Romeo and Juliet, which was the first Breakdancing Shakespeare show in 2006. Three public performances will be held at Hartford Stage August 11 through 13.

Lili St. Amand, 17, a student at West Hartford’s Hall High School, will play the role of Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet – with breakdancing replacing the show’s violent scenes.


The tragic tale of two young star-crossed lovers, whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families, is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular and most frequently performed plays.

BDS R&J Poster v4

“This summer marks ten years since Breakdancing Shakespeare’s inaugural production of Romeo and Juliet which used breakdance —like the genesis of the art form itself — to replace violence,” said Nina Pinchin, associate director of Education at Hartford Stage and the director of the production. “We hope to honor that original show by again substituting the fighting between feuding families with dance. This summer is also extra special because we will be returning to the Hartford Stage mainstage after two summers performing off-site at the University of Saint Joseph.”

During the six-week summer program, Breakdancing Shakespeare students learn breakdancing techniques, physical and vocal characterization, movement, and interpretation of classical text to put a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean play – culminating in an exciting, high-energy show geared toward making the Bard accessible to audiences of all ages. Many previous performances – including last year’s Hamlet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, Macbeth, The Comedy of ErrorsAntony & Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night’s Dream – have played to sell-out crowds.

The script is adapted for Breakdancing Shakespeare by Scott Bartelson, Management Associate at Hartford Stage. Pinchin will helm the production, assisted by former Breakdancing Shakespeare cast members Brandon Couloute as choreographer and Gina Salvatore as stage manager.

The cast of Breakdancing Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet includes Isaiah Artis, 14, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford, as Tybalt; Jarriel DeJesus, 16, Granby Memorial High School, as the Prince; Tamara Graham, 15, Bloomfield High School, as Lady Capulet; Jerry Hamilton, 15, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford, as Romeo; Marquise Hardwick, 17, Rocky Hill High School, as Capulet; Jahleah Harris, 15, Bloomfield High School, as Juliet; Asaundra Hill, 16, Bloomfield High School, as the Nurse;  Marcus Infantas, 14, Batchelder School in Hartford, as Paris/First Watchman; Mu Kue, 15, Grace Academy in Hartford, as Gregory/Second Watchman;George Mantilla, 17, East Hartford High School, as Benvolio; Cristina Menendez, 14, Cromwell Middle School, as Sampson/Peter; Tianna Parnther, 14, Grace Academy in Hartford, as Montague/Apothecary; Saige Rago, 15, Manchester High School, as Balthasar; Lili St. Amand, 17, William Hall High School in West Hartford, as Friar Laurence; and Emma Webb, 17, Canton High School, as Mercutio.

Public performances of Breakdancing Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet will be at Hartford Stage onThursday, August 11, and Friday, August 12, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, August 13, at 2 p.m. General admission $10 tickets go on sale this Monday, July 18, and may be purchased through the Hartford Stage Box Office at 860-527-5151 or online at http://tickets.hartfordstage.org.

To learn more about Breakdancing Shakespeare, visit http://www.hartfordstage.org/education/bds or contact Robert Reader, Education Programs Manager, at 860-520-7263 or [email protected]. To learn more about Neighborhood Studios, visit https://letsgoarts.org/NeighborhoodStudios.

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