For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Brianne M. Dwyer /
Connecticut Dance Alliance will present the state’s first National Dance Day in September

Free outdoor community event includes live
performances, workshops and demonstrations

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. Photo credit: Elisa Wharton Photography.

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.
Photo Credit: Ray Shaw
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.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
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.
Photo Credit: courtesy of Evjen Academy of Performing Arts
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.
Photo Credit: Jaymee Du Plessis
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.
Photo Credit: courtesy of GUSTO Dance
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.
Photo Credit: Kristen McNevins
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.
Photo Credit: Joshua Sugiyama
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.
Photo Credit: Ian Christmann
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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