Stephanie Dattellas moved to Connecticut from Syracuse, N.Y., just a few months ago to become the new artistic director of West Hartford's Ballet Theatre Company in June. She looked forward to getting acquainted with the local dance community.
She's called on them sooner than expected.
When Dattellas learned that a friend of hers had been among the victims of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting, she decided that "I had to do something."
"This feels very close to me," she said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. "Too close."
She quickly arranged a dance concert titled "Dancing for Vegas" to benefit the shooting victims and their families. In addition to the Ballet Theatre Company, the companies Dimensional Dance, dancEnlight, The Dance Collective and Sonia Plumb & Dancers will also perform.
West Hartford's new Delamar Hotel, which opened on Sept. 1, has offered its ballroom for the Oct. 20 performance, which will be preceded by a cocktail hour.
"This is the first event that will be in that brand new ballroom," Dattellas says. "It will be much different than [the hotel's] anticipated use for it, like wedding receptions, since we'll be transforming it into a theater space."
Dattellas says that each of the dance companies has chosen a work it feels is appropriate to the cause. One of the three pieces being performed by the Ballet Theatre Company is "Memories That Fade," which deals with loss. Dattellas says that her opening remarks will also directly address the Las Vegas shooting.
Sonia Plumb says her dance company will be performing two works: "Too Close to the Light" and "Sarcophagus."
"Both dances, very different in their approach, look at love, loss and the power to either create or destroy that which we love or fear," Plumb says.
Classic Cakes will be donating desserts for the event, and A Special Place Floral Studio will be donating floral arrangements. Connecticut Stage and Movie Supply offered to provide the dance floor and lighting.
"One of the things I love most about this," Dattellas says, "is that we may be based in West Hartford, but others who are not located here are joining in. I'm so impressed with the arts organizations around here.
"I could have easily just done this through BTC, but this issue is so much larger than that. I wanted to be able to involve other dancers in the community. One of the missions of our company is community outreach. Dance is such a small, tight-knit community. We're all supportive of each other's work. I hope we'll be doing other collaborations in the future."
THE DANCING FOR VEGAS benefit concert and cocktail reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the ballroom of the Delamar West Hartford Hotel, 1 Memorial Road, West Hartford. Tickets are $20. Those who would like to contribute to the cause but will be unable to attend the concert can make donations through the ticket-sales page linked to the company's dancebtc.org website.