The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) presents the timeless holiday ballet classic The Nutcracker Friday, December 14, at 7:30 PM; Saturday, December 15, at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM; and Sunday, December 16, at 2:00 PM. All performances are held in Millard Auditorium at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Tickets will be made available to the public on November 12, 2012. Please call the University Box Office at 860.768.4228 or 800.274.8587 or visit hcd.hartford.edu to purchase tickets. Admission to each performance is $30 for adults; $15 for students 12 and under; and $20 for other students and senior citizens with ID. University of Hartford discount rates are not available for this production. Group rates may be available to organizations. Contact Amanda Kilpatrick, Hartt Community Division Dance Department, at 860.768.2491 for more information.
The Hartt School Community Division of the University of Hartford has been bringing dance performances to the families and community of the Greater Hartford region for years. Our recent successes have included this summer’s sell-out performance of Coppelia and last year’s well-received full-length production of The Nutcracker, our first with Artistic Director Samantha Dunster at the helm. This holiday season, HCD’s fully staged production of Tchaikovsky’s time-honored classic, with staging again by Artistic Director Dunster, will transport the audience to a magical world.
Following last year’s success, HCD continues to build its production of the ballet, including new scenic elements and the addition of a fourth performance. This fourth performance, as well as the addition of a second cast of many of the roles, will give even more of Hartt’s talented students the opportunity to perform on stage in a full-length story ballet. In addition to the 100+ Hartt dancers between the ages of 5 and 18, former members of the Hartford Ballet will grace our stage, including Debra Collins Ryder of Farmington, Angela Quatrocelli Manger of West Hartford, and Susannah Marchese of Hartford. Ms. Ryder and Ms. Marchese are current ballet instructors in the Community Division and continue the strong teaching legacy of the School of the Hartford Ballet. Stephen Pier, former dancer of the Royal Danish Ballet and Associate Professor of Dance and Director of The Hartt School Dance Division, will reprise the central role of Uncle Drosselmeyer. Once again, local celebrities and dignitaries will make cameo appearances. The 2011 HCD production included special appearances by Dean Aaron Flagg of The Hartt School, President Walter Harrison of the University of Hartford, Scot Haney and Kara Sundlun of WFSB’s Better Connecticut, West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka, and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. 2012 audiences can look forward to the surprise of seeing which local celebrities will join us this season.
Even with several special guests appearing in the production, Ms. Dunster keeps the focus on the children and students of Hartt. Dunster says of the ballet, “The holidays are a magical time of the year for children, and Hartt’s production of The Nutcracker truly evokes the spirit of the season. HCD’s production is performed both by and for young people. Professional guest artists dance cameo roles in our production – dancing alongside, inspiring, and mentoring our students throughout the entire process – yet the focus of this production remains exactly where it should be, on our young artists. Featured roles, such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, are danced by our own advanced dancers, which gives them a unique level of experience that other schools do not typically provide.”
Christina Henares of Avon and Gwen Schwartz of West Hartford dance the starring role of Clara, each at different performances. Gabrielle Collins of West Hartford and Kathryn Manger of West Hartford will share the principal roles of Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Andrew Matte ’15, a University of Hartford Biology Major and Hartt School Dance Division student, will dance the role of the Cavalier. The nearly 100 corps members – ranging in age from 5 to 18, and from Pre-Ballet level study through HCD’s elite pre-professional program – hail from a number of area towns, including Avon, Bloomfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartford, Kensington, Newington, Simsbury, South Windsor, Suffield, Tarrifville, Tolland, Unionville, and West Hartford.
The Community Division’s production of The Nutcracker is truly a Hartford community event, incorporating the talents of our young dance artists, former members of the Hartford Ballet, Hartt School dance faculty, and area dignitaries and celebrities. The collaboration of these talented and notable individuals and the HCD Artistic Staff and Production Teams will make this holiday season’s presentation of The Nutcracker something that should not be missed.