The Jeuns

New artistic director brings a ‘big win’ to Ballet Hartford’s expanding team

April 24, 2024 | by The Jeuns

Ballet Hartford has announced that Claire Kretzschmar will be taking on the role of artistic director starting in August. Kretzschmar, who retired from dancing in 2022 after a successful 12-year career with the New York City Ballet, will be stepping into this new leadership position.

Replacing Leyna Doran, who will transition to become Ballet Hartford’s first executive director while continuing as a company dancer, Kretzschmar’s appointment comes at a significant time for the growing ballet company. In just four years, the organization has expanded from eight dancers to a current roster of 25 dancers. Originally established in 2016 as Vivid Ballet, Ballet Hartford has been making strides in the dance community.

The announcement of Kretzschmar’s new role was made at a recent press conference held at Ballet Hartford’s rehearsal facility at 224 EcoSpace in Hartford. The event featured prominent figures such as Mayor Arunan Arulampalam, Rev. Dr. Shelley D. Best, CEO of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and David Griggs, President & CEO of MetroHartford Alliance.

Mayor Arulampalam expressed his excitement over Kretzschmar’s decision to bring her talents to Hartford, emphasizing the impact her experience with the New York City Ballet will have on the local arts scene. Kretzschmar’s impressive background and commitment to the city were highlighted as key factors in securing her appointment.

Having already showcased her choreography with last year’s creation of “A Ceremony of Carols” for Ballet Hartford, based on Benjamin Britten’s choral work, Kretzschmar is eager to further elevate the company’s presence in the region. She aims to not only continue delivering top-quality ballet performances but also introduce new works and timeless classics to audiences.

Upcoming opportunities to experience Kretzschmar’s choreography include Ballet Hartford’s performance of “Planets” on May 3. The production, set to Gustav Holst’s renowned orchestral piece, will feature Kretzschmar’s ballet interpretation of the “Venus” movement. Audiences can catch the performance at 7 p.m. at the University of Saint Joseph’s Hoffman Auditorium in West Hartford.

With Kretzschmar’s leadership and vision, Ballet Hartford is poised to enter a new era of artistic innovation and excellence, solidifying its position as a pillar of the dance community in Hartford and beyond.


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