On Saturday, October 5, 4:30pm, at the Westport Town Hall, Westport CT, CT Theater Dance Company will premiere its newest creation: a haunted and historical dance performance entitled Once Upon a Dark Night. CT Theater Dance Company, a 501(c)3 that inspires New England audiences with accessible contemporary works incorporating the finest artistic ballet traditions and provides scholarships to local families for fine arts education, is partnering with Westport Historical Society to provide creative ways for Fairfield County audiences to interact with history, gaining empathy for those who lived before us, as well as gaining insight into our future. Riddled with historical allusions, this dance performance draws on all things dark and mysterious.
CT Theater Dance company members, local to Fairfield County and neighboring communities, collaborated with Artistic Director Michelle Sperry and Associate Director Jade Primicias to produce a unique Halloween dance experience. Each piece in the show was choreographed by the dancers themselves, giving local artists the highly valuable opportunity to perform, create, collaborate, and teach. While the audience sits in the remnants of the Bedford Public School auditorium, built in 1923, dancers will creep up onto the stage from unexpected places to tell stories of Westport’s own haunted history, as well as to depict stories from classic, creeptastic folklore.
Jade Primicias has worked closely with historian Nicole Carpenter at WHS to pinpoint events from Westport’s history that resonated with the company members and inspired them to learn more-- Primicias is especially eager to premiere Sanitarium, the story of the former Hall-Brooke Sanitarium director Elizabeth Solomon who left the organization in 1980 and unexpectedly returned in 1982 with a vengeance. Another Fairfield County story is told in a piece entitled Anne, Alse, and Mary, choreographed by Hannah Klinkman, paying tribute to those affected by the Connecticut Witch Panics of the 17th century: “I am thrilled to be working with Westport Historical on this event! When Nicole was telling me about Mary Staples being accused of witchcraft in 1653, a yellow jacket flew up and stung me right on the ring finger! I don’t know if you’re superstitious, but I took that to mean that we were onto something with this show… it definitely cannot be missed!” says Primicias.
Artistic Director Michelle Sperry is also excited to stay true to historical lore with tales like Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” as well as to put a pop-culture spin on things with references to the Stranger Things series: “I am all about the 80’s, and I love that this show was set in my own era! It’s eerie and exciting, and our Stranger Things piece, choreographed by Carly Dorman, will be the same. Music and costumes are relevant to the era, as is the timelessly spooky feeling of being watched… audiences will love this piece whether or not they’re a fan of the show!”
This spooktacular dance performance will directly follow Westport Historical’s Family Creep Fest on Saturday, October 5th, in collaboration with the museum’s Spooktober events. The performance will be held across the street at Westport Town Hall, so families can enjoy the festivities and then head up the hill for the grand finale.
On the eve of this performance, the Company will host their fundraiser gala, Moonlight Masquerade, a masked-costume ball where spirits, hors d'oeuvres, pâtisseries, and dancing await at Weston Field Club, October 4th from 7-11pm (with onsite childcare available!). Guests are invited to flaunt their favorite alter ego fantasies while mingling in the moonlight, enjoying spirits with the spirits, and witnessing previews of the Once Upon a Dark Night performance throughout the evening.
Tickets for the Saturday afternoon performance of Once Upon a Dark Night, $25 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, along with tickets to the Friday night Moonlight Masquerade fundraiser gala, are available through the company’s website, ctDanceCo.org.