The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) presents Snow White Friday, June 14, at 7:00 PM; Saturday, June 15, at 7:00 PM; and Sunday, June 16, at 2:00 PM. All performances are held in Millard Auditorium at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Tickets will be made available to the public on April 20, 2013. Please call the University Box Office at 860.768.4228 or 800.274.8587, or visit hcd.hartford.edu, to purchase tickets. Admission to each performance is $30 for adults; $15 for children 12 and under; and $20 for students and senior citizens with ID. University of Hartford discount rates are not available for this production. Group rates may be available to organizations. Contact Amanda Kilpatrick, Hartt Community Division Dance Department, at 860.768.2491 for more information.
HCD presents the familiar tale of Snow White, an old story that comes to life, in this new ballet with original music by Kermit Poling of Shreveport, Louisiana. Poling’s Snow White was commissioned and premiered by the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet in 2003. This June, the work will premiere in Hartford with choreography by Samantha Dunster, Artistic Director and Chair of the Dance Department at The Hartt School Community Division. Mr. Poling will travel to Hartford to conduct a live orchestra for the production.
Snow White features 154 dancers ranging from ages 5 to 17 from Hartt’s Pre-Professional, Foundation, and Children’s Ballet programs. HCD’s Pre-Professional Trainees Kathryn Manger (West Hartford, CT) and Gabrielle Collins (West Hartford, CT) share the role of Snow White. Guest artist Eddy Tovar dances the role of the Prince.
The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) of the University of Hartford has been bringing dance performances to the families and communities of the Greater-Hartford region for years. Recent productions have included the sell-out performance of Coppelia (July, 2012) and The Nutcracker (December, 2012). In June 2013, HCD begins a new tradition with Snow White, adding another fully staged production to its seasonal performances.
About the Soloists
Born in Connecticut, Kathryn Manger dances with the Hartt School Community Division Dance Department in Hartford. She has performed in galas including Hartt’s Got Talent (2012) and Connecticut Dance Alliance (2011-2012). Ms. Manger was among the top 12 at the Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals in 2012 held in Torrington, CT. She was the recipient of several gold medals for the Connecticut Dance Alliance of 2011-2012 and the 2009 Francine Goldfarb Scholarship, which is awarded annually to promising dancers with the potential to pursue a professional career in dance. Most recently she won the Gold Medal in the Connecticut Dance Alliance’s Connecticut Classic Competition for the Pas de Duex Division, in which she partnered with Andrew Matte. Some of Ms. Manger’s favorite classical roles have included Swanhilda in Coppelia, Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty Suite, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and Kitri in Don Quixote.
Gabrielle Collins, a longtime student of the Hartt Community Division, began her ballet training at age six and has attended numerous summer intensive ballet programs, including American Ballet Theatre and the Professional Intensive at Atlanta Ballet. While attending these programs, Ms. Collins worked with renowned ballet and contemporary choreographers and teachers including Anna Marie-Holmes, Marcia Dale Weary, Victor Plotnikov, Franco De Vita, Raymond Lukens, and Caroline Cavallo, to name a few. In 2011, at the age of 14, she received the Bronze Medal in the Junior Category at the Connecticut Classic Ballet Competition. That spring she was also received the Francine Goldfarb Scholarship. She won the Bronze Medal in the senior category at the 2012 Connecticut Classic, and in March 2013, she was awarded the Silver Medal. In March 2013, she also placed in the top 12 of the Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals. Ms. Collins is a junior attending Conard High School in West Hartford, Connecticut.
A native of Cuba, Eddy Tovar began his dance training at the National Ballet School in Havana. Prior to joining the faculty of the Hartt Community Division, Mr. Tovar was a Principal Dancer with Texas Ballet Theater for three years and Orlando Ballet for nine. He has also been resident guest artist with the Los Angeles Ballet and made guest appearances with several other ballet companies throughout the United States. Internationally, Mr. Tovar has performed in ballet galas in Japan, Canada, Argentina, and Latvia. He was the recipient of several gold medals for dance competitions in Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba. In 2008, he appeared on the television program “So You Think You Can Dance,” performing the principal role in George Balanchine’s Who Cares? Some of Mr. Tovar's favorite classical roles have included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty. He also has enjoyed performing works by George Balanchine, Val Caniporoli, and Twyla Tharpe. Mr. Tovar is married and is the proud father of a beautiful little girl.
About Artistic Director Samantha Dunster
Before coming to Hartt in 2011, Samantha Dunster served as Assistant to the Artistic Director/Ballet Mistress of Orlando Ballet (Florida) and taught at the Orlando Ballet School. Ms. Dunster began her professional training with Cristina Pora in Toronto, Canada. At the age of 17, she traveled to Havana, Cuba, to train with the National Ballet of Cuba. She continued dancing with the company of Centro Pro-Danza under the direction of Laura Alonso, where she also worked as regisseur. She earned her teaching diploma based on the Cuban Ballet training method.
Ms. Dunster has danced and taught in countries around the world such as Sweden, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as in the United States. In 1996, she accepted the position of artistic director and principal dancer of Bale da Ilha in Brazil, where she staged numerous full-length ballets. By 2000, she became ballet mistress of Orlando Ballet under the direction of Fernando Bujones. Dunster re-choreographed La Fille Mal Gardee in 2001 and her invitation to set La Fille Mal Gardee on the National Ballet of Korea came two years later. In 2004, she was commissioned by Orlando Ballet to create a world premiere production of Camelot. In 2007, she accepted the role of assistant to the artistic director of Orlando Ballet under the direction of Bruce Marks. The following year, the pair staged the full-length Don Quixote together. Ms. Dunster also has staged several of Bruce Marks's works, including Lark Ascending, for Louisville Ballet. In 2010, Ms. Dunster served as the Canadian judge for the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.
About Composer Kermit Poling
Named by Forum Magazine as one of the top ten faces to watch, Centaur recording artist Kermit Poling is Music Director of both the South Arkansas Symphony and the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet. He is the Associate Conductor and was Concertmaster of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra for over 27 years. He performs extensively throughout the United States and around the world both as a violinist and conductor. He has conducted or soloed with the Orchestra of the Province of Lecco, Italy, the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, the Guanajuato Symphony (Mexico), the Riverside (NJ) Symphonia, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Moscow Ballet, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Filharmonia Veneta, Shenzhen Symphony of China, and many other orchestras throughout his career.
Also a composer, Mr. Poling's most recent ballets include Phantom of the Opera, premiered by Ballet Oklahoma in 2010, and Aladdin, premiered by the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet in 2011. His work, No Sound of Trumpet nor Roll of Drum, was premiered in 2011, honoring the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Last year, his score to the silent film Tarzan and for the documentary Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle won accolades across the country. A new ballet, Beauty and the Beast, will premiere in Oklahoma City in 2014.
Mr. Poling received the Outstanding Artist in Music Fellowship in 2000 from the State of Louisiana and twice received a Music Fellowship from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. His awards include scholarships to the Boston Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he studied with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier and Seiji Ozawa. In 2005, Maestro Poling served as one of three international judges for China’s National Young Artists Competition with the China National Symphony in Beijing. In 2012, he was awarded a career advancement award from the State of Louisiana. In 1998 he was chosen by Oscar award winning artist William Joyce to compose the music for his stage adaptation of The Leafmen and the Brave Good Bugs.
Maestro Poling has been a featured conductor on NPR's Performance Today, the Arkansas Educational Television Network, the Red River Radio Network, and WGBH Boston, and has appeared as violinist on Louisiana Public Television and PBS, in addition to numerous television and radio stations throughout the country. Centaur Records released a CD of his newest Christmas arrangements performed by the West Edge String Quartet. Away from the podium, Mr. Poling also serves as the general manager of Red River Radio, the public radio network of Northwest and Central Louisiana, South Arkansas, and East Texas.
Pictured: Kathryn Manger as Snow White; photo by Thomas Giroir