A self-described “dance evangelist” Brett Raphael will continue to crisscross the state of Connecticut this year with his Summer Dance Caravan, designed to promote classical dance with free, traveling, outdoor shows.
For 35 years as the founder of Connecticut Ballet, Raphael has been developing an audience for ballet. Today, he can sit back and see, with satisfaction, some of his adult audience members who were first exposed to dance through a Connecticut Ballet outreach program.
“It’s exciting to be 35,” said Raphael of his company’s 35th season, which will be celebrated with performances of “Thirty Something!” April 29 at The Bushnell and May 6 at The Palace in Stamford.
“We do a lot of dance instruction and performances for young people. It’s who we are and who we have become. After a while we have a generation of audiences who have seen us in some distant past,” said Raphael of his company, founded in 1981. Outreach has run the gamut from schools to juvenile detention facilities and to places like the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden.
“It all adds up and brings a general enthusiasm from the state. We are really proud of carrying the state’s name and having that as our moniker of representing professional dance in Connecticut,” said Raphael.
Punctuating that sentiment is that he will be showcasing 22 dancers in “Thirty Something!” who are all Connecticut Ballet dancers, bringing in no guest dancers for the three ensemble pieces carefully selected to harness the strength and versatility of Connecticut Ballet. When reaching back into his repertoire, Raphael found 101 pieces, and out…
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