Exit 12 Dance Company's THE NUTCRACKER Honors Military Service, Now thru 12/16

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The Company's version of Nutcracker has a unique military twist, which it comes by naturally. Choreographer Roman Baca, a graduate of Connecticut's Nutmeg Conservatory and Artistic Director of Exit 12 Dance Company, was deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps in Fallujah, Iraq in 2005. Baca dances the role of "Colonel Drosselmeyer" who creates a magical nutcracker doll for his goddaughter, Clara, with the hope it will come to life and take the place of his nephew, who is being deployed. Area families are able to enjoy the magic of a classic Nutcracker ballet, in an intimate theatre while honoring those who are serving our country.

"This year," Baca says, "we are challenging our cast to not only increase the level of dancing, but also the positive impact on the audience and the greater Hartford community. In doing so they learn the elements of a quality production as well as the importance of giving back to children and veterans in our community."

"Members of my platoon, and wounded Veterans will join us in the audience and on stage," Baca adds.

Ballet Theatre Company is honoring U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families at Friday night's performance. A limited number of discounted tickets will be set aside for active military, veterans, and families of deployed military personnel; only available in advance by calling 860-570-0440.

In addition to providing the opportunity for young area dancers to work and perform with professionals, Ballet Theatre Company continues to support children in need in the greater Hartford area. For the 10th year, BTC will stage a private performance, free of charge, for 600 underserved area children. For the 5th year, in continued support of those serving and their families, Ballet Theatre Company will have Marine Toys for Tots collection boxes at all performances.

Since its founding in 1999, Ballet Theatre Company has enriched the greater Hartford community by offering professional caliber dance productions, dance education, and performance opportunities to all dancers ages 3 to adult. Ballet Theatre Company is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, supported in part by United Arts Campaign of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Connecticut Office of the Arts, Department of Economic and Community Development, J. Walton Bissell Foundation, Ensworth Charitable Trust, The Fund for Greater Hartford, Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, Connecticut business and many local patrons.

Performances run tonight, December 13 at 6:30 PM, Friday December 14 at 7:30 PM, Saturday December 15 at 1 PM and 5:00 PM and Sunday December 16 at 1 PM and 4:30 PM at the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities on the University of Saint Joseph Campus, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, Conn. For tickets, call 860-570-0440 or visit dancebtc.org.

Ballet Theatre Company of West Hartford, Connecticut brings Nutcracker to Greater Hartford families for its 11th year. The cast features professional dancers from Connecticut and New York and over 60 young performers from 14 towns in the central Connecticut region under the acclaimed artistic direction and choreography of Roman Baca.

Lisa Fitzgerald returns for the third consecutive year as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Fitzgerald, formerly with Nutmeg Ballet and Connecticut Ballet, is co-founder and principal dancer of Exit 12 Dance Company. Her Cavalier this year is Michael Crawford, a principal dancer with American Repertory Ballet and a guest choreographer for Dance Innovations Performance Foundation of Chatham, NJ.

For more information, go to www.dancebtc.org.