Magazine article Dance Magazine

From Barracks to Ballet: This Studio Proves That Good Training-And Certification by ABT's National Training Curriculum-Can Overcome a Quirky Location

Magazine article Dance Magazine

From Barracks to Ballet: This Studio Proves That Good Training-And Certification by ABT's National Training Curriculum-Can Overcome a Quirky Location

Article excerpt

Connecticut Concert Ballet isn't a place you'll find by accident: It's on the border of Manchester, on a former U.S. Army missile base built during the Cold War. Today more than 300 dancers take class there under the tutelage of Wendy Fish-Lawrence and her husband, David Lawrence, both former dancers. Since taking the studio's helm as co-artistic directors in 1997, the Lawrences have turned the 41-year-old school into a magnet for serious dance students. Both are certified in American Ballet Theatre's National Training Curriculum, which has helped boost CCB's success.

When they started as instructors at CCB in 1996, the school had about 50 students; since the Lawrences took over, the enrollment has soared. It has helped that in 2013 and 2014, CCB was voted "Best Dance Lessons" in Hartford Magazine's "Best of Hartford" readers' poll.

The school has two studios in a low-slung former barracks. Both have marley sprung floors. The larger studio is conveniently the same size as the stage at the local high school where CCB dances its Nutcracker. The school also presents many large-scale classical and contemporary productions during the year, dances at numerous local benefits and events, and has even done a flash-mob on the streets of Manchester to support the town's Arts Commission. These productions give students more opportunities to perform than in most schools, says Lawrence. He feels that the exposure gives students a taste of what it's like to be a professional dancer, and the stage experience helps when older ones apply for college scholarships and must audition. …

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