Brattleboro School of Dance’s upcoming production of “Moons, Mirrors and Mirages” takes the audience through off the beaten path in an exploration of the past, present, and future of dance.
Mike Plotczyk
Brattleboro School of Dance’s upcoming production of “Moons, Mirrors and Mirages” takes the audience through off the beaten path in an exploration of the past, present, and future of dance.

‘A mysterious and otherworldly excursion into the past, present, and future of dance’

Brattleboro School of Dance presents ‘Moons, Mirrors and Mirages’ at NEYT May 19–21

BRATTLEBORO — At the Brattleboro School of Dance (BSD), we've been in full swing, working on the final touches of our upcoming production, “Moons, Mirrors and Mirages.”

This show takes the audience on a mysterious and otherworldly excursion into the past, present, and future of dance at BSD.

We wander off the beaten path, guided by the light of the moon, and revel in what our reflections reveal. The moon shines light into darkness, always there to remind us of its cycles. The mirror shows us who we are, what is behind us, and what is reflected in our hopes and dreams. Mirages are there for us to understand our wants and desires in times of scarcity and hardship.

This show will feature dancers spanning many generations, from age 6 up through 70-something. It features the work of Holly Johnson, Patricia Wilson, Rachel Hebert, Sonya Marx, Nan Mann, Stuart Tsubota, Tony Nagy, and me. Kathi Keller will revive her beloved piece, “Hornpipe.”

* * *

BSD has brought quality spring and winter productions to the region for well over 30 years. We're back again at the New England Youth Theatre from Friday, May 19 through Sunday, May 21, and we again have created a series of dance pieces, all with original choreography by our staff, spanning a broad spectrum of styles and moods, from hip-hop to classical ballet, from children's storytelling through movement to expressive modern, and more.

We have always reached for quality in all our endeavors, beginning with a high level of dance education and training. Training can begin at age 3 with Nan Mann, who is also the director of the Brattleboro Centre for Children. She brings her knowledge of children's development into the Saturday morning children's classes.

From there, staff members Rachel Hebert, Sonya Marx, and I teach dance instruction in pre-ballet and progressive levels of ballet technique for every age group, including adults.

What are our credentials and teaching philosophies? I have an MFA in dance and new media from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. I have committed myself to teaching anatomically aware dancers who go beyond their usual limits. We build this into every BSD class.

Rachel has trained at Point Park University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, and The Ailey School. She is dedicated to excellence in her adult classes. She will be attending a dance residency in Amsterdam in June.

Sonya holds a bachelor's degree in dance and English from Kenyon College and trained with the Manhattan Youth Ballet. This season. she heads up the young teens program of moving from ballet slippers to pointe shoes, an exciting time for young ballet dancers which requires careful oversight.

Another staff member, Patricia Wilson, teaches a version of modern dance technique called “Dunham,” after its creator, Katherine Dunham. Patricia is the co-director of the Institute for Dunham Technique Certification, working with dancers from around the world.

* * *

BSD's dance performances far outshine the typical dance recitals that abound in communities this time of year. Such a program is often designed solely to give eager parents a glimpse of their child on stage, sequined in catalogue costumes, showing some of the steps learned and practiced in class.

Our model of dance production is a different animal entirely.

We hold auditions for all dancers who wish to be a part of productions. We carefully assign roles according to technique level and familiarity with dance styles. We set original choreography to music that best expresses the message and mood of the dance.

Rehearsals are then scheduled outside of class time so that training is not disrupted. The dancers must put in hours per week for each piece they are cast in, and choreographers spend many hours in the creative process.

Costumes enhance the piece's tone, flavor, or message, often through collaboration between the choreographer and head costume designer Kathleen Keller, who founded BSD in 1976.

For an entire week prior to opening night, dancers must participate in rehearsals on the stage, referred to as “tech week,” where the spacing patterns of moving bodies are methodically set, lighting design is created, and cues learned. A final dress rehearsal, complete with makeup and full costumes, occurs the day before opening night of BSD's professional level shows.

We are proud to produce the art that eventually graces the stage.

* * *

“Moons, Mirrors and Mirages” opens at New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat St, Brattleboro, on Friday, May 19, with a 6:30 p.m. showing and continues on Saturday, May 20, (1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.) and Sunday, May 21 (1:30 p.m.). For tickets ($17; $14 for children and seniors), visit Proceeds benefit our scholarship fund.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates