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January 28, 2011

For the first time, Ballet Atlantic’s annual family favorite, the Nutcracker Ballet  was performed downtown this holiday season at 306 Huguenot Street, thanks to the generosity of downtown property owners Gary Garafola and Susan Friedman and help from the new Rochelle BID. This is Ballet Atlantic’s 36th year producing the Nutcracker based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman with music by Tchaikovsky.

An accomplished ballet troupe and popular dance academy, Ballet Atlantic has taken up full-time residence in downtown New Rochelle at the BID’s Artist Studios (Rental information: 914-960-1460) at 81 Center Avenue, in 10,000 square feet of newly renovated space for artists and art businesses directly opposite Talner Jewelry Store.

Ballet Atlantic Company, founded forty years ago by Director Leslie Otto, inspires an excitement for dance. Leslie studied at the School of American Ballet in New York City under the inimitable George Balanchine. Leslie attended The Performing Arts High School where she danced under the guidance of Robert Joffrey, founder of the Robert Joffrey Ballet. Additionally, Leslie studied with and began a life-long relationship with the American Ballet School and Theatre; to this day you can find Leslie performing as an extra or working behind the scenes on the Metropolitan Opera Stage at Lincoln Center.

Ballet Atlantic Company has performed many well received, full-length classics among them, Don Quixote, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Copelia, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake. Alison Otto, the innovative resident choreographer, has challenged the Company with a wide repertoire of original contemporary works.

Ballet Atlantic is also well known in the region for its excellent school where Leslie has brought her fervent passion and technical know-how to dance instruction as well as sensitivity and caring to her founding mission to allow children of all talents and ages (yes, this includes adults) to pursue, in a nurturing environment, their love of dance. CLICK HERE to see a video from Dancefest.

Atl_Bal_ (2).jpg Classes at Ballet Atlantic include all levels of instruction, from the earliest beginner to the most advanced. Meeting Leslie’s goal to make ballet and dance as inclusive and fun as possible Ballet Atlantic provides many diverse opportunities to become involved as dancers, extras, character role actors, audience members, scenery making, costuming and, of course, patrons. Something for everyone in the family; this is why Ballet Atlantic remains a favorite tradition for an ever growing number of families, and rising ballet stars.

The Ballet Atlantic School and Company has found a new home in a beautiful studio located at the BID Artist Studios at 81 Center Street in downtown New Rochelle. Ballet Atlantic will be celebrating their move to downtown New Rochelle by performing their holiday classic, the “Nutcracker”, now in its 36th season, at their new spacious and light studio. Atl_Bal_ (6).jpg

Find Ballet Atlantic on Facebook!  Their page details class schedules, performance  information, and a photo gallery to peruse as well as links to Google pages and their website. Leslie is accessible and is always happy to hear from the public.  You can call her on her cell phone: 914-522-0960.

Read what some of your neighbors say about Ballet Atlantic:

Laura Feig
Principal Dancer Atlanta Ballet, starred in Twlya Tharp's "Movin' Out"

“I am a professional dancer who has had the pleasure of attending a performance by Ballet Atlantic. Having never seen the company before, I was not sure what to expect- what a wonderful surprise!  The sets and lovely costumes provided the perfect backdrop for the beautiful choreography. I was most impressed by the excellent training and professionalism of the students. They displayed a very high level of technique and artistry. Throughout my 16-year professional career I have seen many performances, and I was thoroughly impressed by Ballet Atlantic. I look forward to seeing them perform again in the future.”

Mary Balogh
Mother of two daughters

“I have two daughters who attend Ballet Atlantic Academy—one is six and the other fifteen.  My eldest has been a dedicated dancer with the company for over 6 years, Atl_Bal_ (3).jpg with her roles in each year's performances challenging and motivating her as her abilities have developed.  My younger daughter grew up watching her big sister perform in the Nutcracker every holiday, and couldn't wait to put on her first ballet slippers when she was four. The experienced teachers at Ballet Atlantic have taught her the fundamentals that will allow her to follow in her sister's footsteps--focus, grace, and dedication--while deftly accommodating her unique strengths and needs.”

Jocelyn Kelly
Mother of a student

“My daughter returned to Ballet Atlantic after a 3 year break to another, more conveniently located school. We found ourselves back at Ballet Atlantic because it is a uniquely warm, non-competitive, welcoming place. Everyone is accepted in the BA community. Mrs. Otto has successfully created a school with an extremely diverse student body (economic mix, racial mix, and even a gender mix), that is somehow a place where no differences exist. Ballet Atlantic offers top notch ballet instruction in a home-away-from-home atmosphere. My daughter is so happy to be back.”

Lisa Teddone
Mother of two daughters

“We have been with the academy for four years now. My girls are now ages 13 and 14 and I can gladly tell you that their experience has been unique and extends beyond the formal ballet technique taught. What truly distinguishes the Ballet Atlantic Academy is its dedication to the exposure of its students to professional performances. My girls have performed alongside professionals from ABT and other local organizations in productions of the Nutcracker and other complete ballets in a formal theatre setting which is utterly unique for their age group and level. Mrs. Otto and her team seem to have the ability to bring out the full potential of each student by not only nurturing their individual natural abilities but in exposing them to a professional performance environment. We have relished this unique opportunity and look forward to many more years under this school's tutelage.”

Ballet Atlantic
81 Centre Ave.
New Rochelle New York 10801
Phone: (914)-522-0960

Photo credits: Deborah J Karson

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