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Connecticut Dance Alliance will present the state's first National Dance Day in September

New England Ballet Theatre, Photo courtesy of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

HARTFORD, CT – July 20, 2020 – Connecticut Dance Alliance (CDA) will present the state’s first National Dance Day on Saturday, September 19, 2020, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Webster Walk, located at Blue Back Square in West Hartford, Connecticut. The free outdoor community event will celebrate the joy of dance and showcase the diversity of dance in Connecticut while also encouraging fun and healthy body movement and creative expression.

The event will feature live performances and workshops from Connecticut dance studios, companies, and independent performing artists; dance literature book presentations by Connecticut authors; a Dance-Me-a-Story demonstration for young children; and a gently-used/new dancewear fundraiser. Connecticut Dances – A Visual History , a touring exhibition presented by CDA and the Connecticut Historical Society, will also be on display.

“National Dance Day has been celebrated across the country by cities and states over the past decade and has branched out to over 46 locations across the United States,” said Brianne M. Dwyer, CDA Vice President and event coordinator. “Connecticut needs to be represented in this nationwide celebration, as well. There is no better organization than CDA to spread public awareness of dance in all its forms and showcase our vibrant

dance community to the state of Connecticut, specifically during this time of hardship and resilience for our performing artists.”

The rain date for National Dance Day is Sunday, September 20, 2020. The event will follow all current Connecticut COVID-19 mandates for outdoor public events. For more information on National Dance Day, visit .

About the Participants:

Dimensional Dance

Dimensional Dance was established in 2011 by Director Ruth Vesenka Lewis to inspire and educate through and about dance. The company is comprised of 10 dancers with a wide variety of dance backgrounds, from classical to contemporary. Their newest program, Ballet to Breakdancing, includes elements of ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop and contemporary.

The END Ensemble

The END Ensemble is a project-based contemporary dance company in

Hartford. Founded in 2017 by Artistic Director Erica Nelson, the END Ensemble prides

itself on collaboration across all arts forms with the goal of strengthening the arts

community throughout the Greater Hartford area. Visual artists, composers, writers and

live musicians are regularly commissioned and featured alongside new dance works that

not only contribute to but also challenge the dance canon.

New England Ballet Theatre

Rachael Gnatowski and Emily Orzada co-founded New England Ballet Theatre (NEBT)

in January 2020 to bring high-quality dance performances to communities throughout

New England. NEBT is a not-for-profit organization focusing on the development of new

choreography and the production of new ballets, while giving choreographers the

opportunity to have artistic freedom in their creative process. Based in Hartford, NEBT

is working to expand its base and programs throughout New England.

Evjen Academy of Performing Arts

Founded by Diane M. Evjen, Evjen Academy of Performing Arts opened its doors in January 2006. Dancers are taught that success is not found in or bound by perfection, rather success is taking goals and following through with determination, perseverance and sweat. Evjen Academy of Performing Arts is proud to promote an environment of self-respect, genuine care for the world, and kindness overflowing as they nurture their dancers’ talents and techniques to better themselves and give back to the community.

Baila Con Gusto

Baila Con Gusto CT seeks to share and enrich the experience of all people who enjoy dancing. Founder Jason Ramos and Amanda Duvall put great value in developing rich cultural, social and artistic bridges that stretch beyond the classroom and into their broader communities. Understanding that not all people have the access, resources or knowledge to participate in dance, Baila Con Gusto CT provides professional dance

entertainment and education services at affordable prices throughout Connecticut and New York City.


GUSTO Dance cultivates dance as an expression of joy, beauty, and humor, and as a

vehicle for connection and empowerment. Collaboration is their heartbeat; offering

engaging, inspiring dance is their main goal.

The Hartford Dance Collective founded in July 2017, is located in

the heart of Parkville, Hartford. The Collective aims to empower women to have a voice

and an equal opportunity in dance by providing choreographic and

leadership opportunities. By sharing professional contemporary dance with

new audiences and providing performances in diverse locations, the Hartford Dance

Collective works to bridge the gap between the arts and its community.

CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts is an arts-focused magnet high school

serving Hartford and its suburbs. CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts offers full

and half-day programs for students from the capitol region and beyond with focused

training in the arts.

CT Tap Collaborative (CTC)

The CTC is a safe space developed for personal growth and creativity as a dancer

and musician. The CTC works to fully embody the joy of dance as they express

themselves through the authentic rhythm of their hearts and souls. With a multitude of

performance opportunities, CTC company members showcase the range of tap dance

choreography throughout history while increasing their own creative abilities through improvisation and collaborative work.

Leslie Frye Maietta

In a 21st century dance climate where artist equals entrepreneur, embracing,

encouraging and practicing versatility and diversity is radical and essential. Embodying

this in dance and life has contributed to Leslie Frye Maietta’s successful career in

concert and commercial dance spaces on an international to local scale. Leslie’s current

creative work has been presented from Berlin to Boston, and her performing and

teaching experience continues to be equally as distinct. Leslie’s eclectic and rich

training/performance/research in techniques and forms encompassing Ballet, Jazz,

Modern, Contemporary Dance, Improvisation, Hip Hop, Hoofing, Theatre and Gaga

Movement Language take root in her creative work and teaching.

Ballet Hartford

Founder Elizabeth “Betsy” McMillian established the company as Vivid Ballet in

Hartford in August 2016 with the purpose of promoting the true, the good and the

beautiful. Having developed national and international recognition, and more than

doubling its roster of dancers, the company re-branded as Ballet Hartford - establishing

its affiliate school, School of Ballet Hartford, in August 2018. The company has

professionally partnered with The University of Hartford’s The Hartt School Dance

Division and shares a thriving exchange of resources and ideas. By producing programs

that incorporate historical, classical ballet and new, artistically diverse choreographic

works Ballet Hartford provides its audiences with performances that uphold tradition

and celebrate innovation.

Additional performers and workshop facilitators include Arthur Murray Dance Studio of

Glastonbury, Karrington Trice, Point to Perfection Dance Studio, Ekklesia

Contemporary Ballet, Toriography Dance Company, and ATTAK Dance Company.

The event will also highlight CDA’s collaboration with Para Dance by Fred Astaire Dance

Studios in West Hartford.

About Connecticut Dance Alliance (CDA)

Connecticut Dance Alliance, Inc. (CDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of dance in all its forms and serving the needs of the statewide dance community. Since 1999, CDA has created and presented numerous events such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Dance – a day celebrating African-American dance traditions, CDA Distinguished Achievement in Dance Awards, Healthy Dancer Seminars and workshops on Planning a College Career in dance. In 2011, CDA founded and developed a successful summer scholarship annual competition, the Connecticut Classic , a competition for pre-professional classical ballet students. CDA also administers the Elena Delvecchio Rusnak Dance Education Scholarship. CDA’s current project, The

Dance History Project. Through grassroots networking, the project endeavors to

capture and share, through the art of photography and scholarly writing, a cultural and

historical documentation of the rich and vibrant dance heritage in Connecticut. Using

the 2,000 images submitted by the dance community, the curated Connecticut Dance

exhibition has toured the state since 2017. In addition to the Dance History Project ,

other CDA initiatives include the further development of regional network consortiums

to increase communication, partnerships, and opportunities for Connecticut’s dance

community; dance education programs; and the new statewide dance resource database.

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