Nutmeg Graduates Thrill in Graduation Performance

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The difference between seeing a Nutmeg repertoire show at the Premiere Dance Studio compared to any other venue is the difference between seeing a movie on IMAX compared to a regular screen. At the Premiere Dance Studio at the Nutmeg we see the giant glass windows overlooking Torrington, the steeple of St. Peters Church, the top of Nutmeg Grille, the green hills in the distance. When the curtains cover the glass and the lights dim and return we focus on the dancers up close, there before us. We see the distance from the floor boards as dancers like Alexsander Keeperman and Thel Moore defy gravity in leaps and bounds; we see Alexandra Lopez glow as she accepts roses from Moore, Keeperman, Matanya Solomon and Taylor Gober in the Rose Adagio. Each moment seems larger than life because of our proximity to the magic these dancers produce that we often see from afar.

photo by Fazzino Photography

photo by Fazzino Photography

To a packed house the Nutmeg dancers put on a show with expertise and style. Introductions were made by Tim Melady who invited Eleanor D’Antuono to take the stage and share some history behind “Les Sylphides”, which was Act I of the show, staged by Denise Warner Limoli. It is classic and beautiful and it is created in such a way that every second looks iconic, poster or postcard perfect.  Different performances feature different dancers, the performance I enjoyed featured Jennifer Schwartz, Aja Belcher-Velez,Riley McGregor, Thel Moore with Coryphées: Kasey Arvold, Demeri Sutula and the Corps de Ballet: Kelsey Morris, Emma Davis, Simone Muhammad, Alma Evertz, Mary Colombie, Cassandra Punzo, Isabel Jennings, Kaliece Carter, Taylor Smooke, Makenna Wollmann, Sarah Jimenez, Erin Troost, Brenna Budaj, Anja Nicholson. The dance does not tell a narrative story but instead provides a view of Sylphs who are “spirits of the air” which is captivating. The moment when Thel Moore lifted his partner high in the air generated the first of many mid-dance applause.

After a short intermission, Act II has the “Sleeping Beauty Suite” which begins with the Garland Dance. The performance I enjoyed  Jada Schiller, Emma Ziff, Hannah Folan, Jesse Kulnych-Griffith, Megan Curry, Janie Mae Westergard, Natalia Lopez, Makenna Wollmann Janie Mae Westergard, Natalia Lopez, Makenna Wollmann and Andris Kundzins, Benton Stivali, Julius Taiber, Nicholas Vaccaro.


rehearsal during the year at the Nutmeg


There was the Entrada featuring the Torrington School of Ballet performers Phoenix Bernardin, Macie Carter, Madeleine Connal, Grace Falk, Lydia Godenzi, Francesca Maria Kraszewski, Mia Krone, Anja Lipovsky, Samantha Lockwood,Kathryn Pagano, Abagael Pasko, Cameron Sedlack, Caitlyn Sullivan and Serafina Snow and the Lilac Fairy Variation was performed by Kelsey Morris, Ava Mayers, Meagan Selinsky.

In the performance on Friday, Graduate Alexandra Lopez shined during the Rose Adagio.  Spontaneous applause erupted during the triumphant final spin and continued to the conclusion of the dance.

Following the Rose Adagio must be difficult but the Nutmeg pulled it off with Puss in Boots and the White Cat which is a very fun frolic of a dance. For our performance Isabel Jennings was the White Cat and Andris Kundzins was Puss in Boots and both danced playfully with grace.

In the Wedding Pas de Deux that I enjoyed Grace Canfield and Alexsander Keeperman had their time in the spotlight dancing together and solo and marked a wonderful end to the Sleeping Beauty portion of the evening.

Joan Kunch’s Variation for Eight” came next with (for the performance I saw) demonstrated the work of Erin Troost, Emma Ziff, Hannah Folan, Demeri Sutula, Sarah Meili, Calpurnia Carter, Anja Nicholson, Emily Etchegary. The lights came back on as the stage was set for the Torrington School of Ballet’s  crowd pleasing performance of “Airs Above Ground”, a work created by Susan Szabo and featured Ava Falk, Adia Isaacson, Emily Jaworski, Rhian Jones, Anja Lipovsky, Ella McCoy, Nicole Russell, Lily Slepoy, Rebecca Doyle, Lila Durstin-Alderete, Riley O’Connor, Yuriann Oh, Abagael Pasko, Alexandra Aiudi, Talia Alicea, Sydni Allen, Madeleine Connal, Grace Falk, Autumn Rankin.

The evening closed with three powerful modern performances.

The first was “Solar Flares” choreographed by Momix founder Moses Pendleton and staged by Tim Melady. What can I say, it’s MOMIX! Performed by Sarah Jimenez, Alma Evertz, Alexandra Lopez, Kasey Arvold, Emma Davis, Mary Colombie, Aja Belcher-Velez, Katarina Gallagher, Ava Mayer, Kelsey Morris, Thel Moore and Alexsander Keeperman, this dance was so much fun!  The beat is high energy and though the props were like rays from the sun, I’d say the smiles on the dancers’ faces beamed even more so like the sun!

The second modern dance was a serious work created by SYREN dance company’s Kate St. Amand called The Arrow of Time. In the show I saw, the performers were Andris Kundzins, Jada Schiller, Jesse Kulynch-Griffith, Brenna Budaj, Demeri Sutula, Calpurnia Carter, Sarah Meili, Nicholas Vaccaro, Tim Dobbins, Emily Etchegary, Hannah Folan, Taylor Smooke and all hit the mark in this powerful piece.

To close out the night, Victoria Mazzarelli’s Trance Dance hit the stage.  It achieves the balance of beginning with the soft and beautiful and transitions into a faster high energy movement. In the performance I saw, dancers Cassandra Punzo, Isabel Jennings, Riley McGregor, Kasey Arvold, Jennifer Schwartz, Olivia Rick, Simone Muhammad, Meagan Selinsky, Grace Canfield, Olivia-Rose Awsumb, Nicholas Gray, Taylor Gober, Matanya Solomon all brought Mazzarelli’s vision to life.

After the last dance to thunderous applause the performers “vogued” in fun appreciation of their audience.

after the show

The final graduation performance is today Saturday 5/16 at 3pm. The cast will be different, the dances will still be extraordinary. The show is wonderful and if tickets are available, you can enjoy it too!

Congratulations to all of the Nutmeg dancers, especially the graduates who will take the lessons from the Nutmeg with them wherever they go. I look forward to seeing the Summer Intensives work this summer and for more wonderful things to come in the new year.


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