A Winter's Eve's broad, cultural appeal and heartwarming message a huge hit!
On December 16, 2023 Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theater presented "A Winter’s Eve" to packed audiences at the Bender JCC in Rockville. The production was truly a celebration of celebrations, uniting a Christmas classic with an adaptation of a British holiday story, to present broad cultural representations of the joy and love of the holidays. The dancers, mostly students of Essence Studios, of Poolesville, ranged in age from six to eighteen, and stunned the audience with their grace, energy, charm and story-telling ability.
In act one HGCBT Artistic Director and Choreographer Claire Jones interpreted Raymond Briggs' illustrated classic "The Snowman." In Jones' version, a young boy discovers that his snowman has come to life, and he shows his chilly companion what life is like in his home, where they meet teddy bears, tin soldiers, music box dancers and balloons, and marvel at the wonderful ornaments on a Christmas Tree.
The snowman then takes the boy outside to experience the world of snow, where they meet dancing snowmen, featuring tap and hip-hop. They are then swept away by wind, and are whisked across the globe, marveling at a celebration of Diwali in India, Hanukkah in Israel, and Kwanzaa in West Africa, all presented with authentic dance created by several gifted guest choreographers.
Act two featured excerpts from the timeless and traditional ballet, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” as envisioned by Choreographer Justin Rustle. The dancers transport the audience into Clara's dream, to experience the Land of the Sweets brilliantly danced by Cecilia Zeranski as our Sugar Plum Fairy, Sava Brizhik as the Cavalier, Alarica Delongchamp as Clara, and Elizabeth Tchorni as the Flower Queen. The dancers and audience journeyed to lands around the globe, including Russia, Spain and the Arabian peninsula, through exquisite and timeless classical ballet.
Audiences loved the variety of dance, and many were moved by both stories' shared of sense of joy, and the global diversity in how we celebrate love and light!
WATCH THE PERFORMANCE
"Nothing shy of spectacular!"
A review of "A Winter's Eve" by Joy Sucker-Tiemann
This show & the dancers' performance was nothing shy of spectacular! And this is coming from someone who didn't have a child in the show! I wouldn't have missed it for the world & I'm only sorry the entire town didn't see it!! This should be a MUST on everyone's list of things to do next year! I kid you not!!!! For those wondering why... because the essence of dance & ballet is to tell a story with no words through an art form that is so poetic in its movement that it will transport you to another world, teach & touch your heart and much like music is a universal language; dance done right uses music as it's welcome mat to the soul! This production included all of that plus messaging in scenery & lighting that was as iconic to the spirit of the holiday's giving season as any message I've ever witnessed on a stage. This show had me in tears, clapping along and on my feet at the finale! BRAVISIMO and Mazel Tov!
MEET OUR GUEST CHOREOGRAPHERS
HGCBT feels it is essential to make our productions significant and familiar to our entire community. In order to provide accurate representations of a variety of holiday celebrations, we have partnered with four guest choreographers to work with our dancers to provide dances that are entertaining and authentic. We hope you enjoy their work!
Heinz Adjakwah has loved dance and the impacts of its benefits on individuals and society as as a whole. By his account, dance teaches discipline, fortitude and spreads joy. He began his path in dance upon joining an African dance troupe in middle school while in Ghana. His love for the art form grew when he moved to the United States and began his studies in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary and Tap in addition to his training in African dance. Along the way he came to love the art of teaching dance to young minds as well as adults, and he hasn’t looked back since. He teaches Afro beats, Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz in the metro DC area. Through dance, Mr. Adjakwah has gotten the opportunity to perform around the US and abroad. He has performed with The Marvin Gaye Project, Baltimore Dance Project, Howard County Ballet, ArtsCentric, Rebollar Dance, and Dakshina, and has collaborated and choreographed on numerous projects. He holds a dual degree in Dance and Health Administration and Public Policy.
Diwali: Traditional Indian
Sefali is a multi-talented individual with a deep passion for dance, mainly folk dances. She has an eclectic background in various dance forms, including some training in the Indian classical dance form of Kathak.
One of her notable achievements is founding the "Sahiyar Garba group," a dance troupe dedicated to performing different folk dances at various events. In this group, Sefali was the choreographer and project coordinator, ensuring the performances were well-executed and organized.
Under Sefali's guidance, the Sahiyar Garba group has performed at various prestigious venues, including the Black Rock Art Center for Diwali Celebrations. Their performances received recognition and praise, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of folk dances. She has lent her expertise as a choreographer for community Diwali and Holi functions and international nights at her local school and other Indian cultural events. In addition to her passion for dance, Sefali has pursued a successful career in Information Technology (IT) for the past 20 years. This demonstrates her ability to balance her artistic pursuits with a demanding professional life. Sefali resides in Montgomery County with her family, where she continues to contribute to her community as a dancer, choreographer, and judge for Garba events. Her multifaceted talents and dedication to the arts and IT exemplify her commitment to personal growth and community engagement.
Diwali: Traditional Indian
Payal Jain is a trained classical dancer in Bharatanatyam. She lives in Boyds, MD, with her husband and son. She has a masters in wireless communication and is working as an IT professional. Since 2012, she has volunteered as a choreographer during many community Diwali and Holi functions, international night in school and other Indian functions. She has taught at Dancilla Fusion Dance and Fitness Studio. She is passionate about dance and believes it is a beautiful form of art to express oneself at any age and at any stage of life. She adapts the choreography according to the age group that she is teaching.
Michal Rotberg is a designer and an educator. As a graphic design instructor, she works with college students from diverse international communities. In her professional practice, she explores the relationship between cognitive bias and culture within design. She holds an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
Michal has been dancing since childhood, specifically traditional and character dance. She believes that dance should be accessible, as it is an inclusive form of community bonding and an expression of joy. Michal and her family of five (Ruru, the cat, is the founding member) just returned to Maryland after seven years.
Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theatre
©2022 by Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theatre. Created with Wix.com