Rennick Meat Market is supporting Ballet Theatre Ashtabula dancers this season

Rennick Meat Market is helping young artists in our community this month. From November 1 through December 6, Rennick will donate 10% of their lunch sales, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., to Ballet Theatre Ashtabula School of Dance. Based at the Ashtabula Arts Center, BTA School of Dance has been teaching young people for over fifty years, and making The Nutcracker a community tradition for thirty-eight years. BTA offers classes for recreational students, dancing for fun and fitness, as well as for pre-professional students, providing foundational ballet training to those working towards a career in dance.

Alex Asteinza, co-owner of Rennick Meat Market, has been a staunch supporter of Ballet Theatre Ashtabula, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ashtabula Arts Center. “Coming from New York and the arts culture there, I think it’s great to have this resource here. We had Lincoln Center right there, and then you come to Ashtabula and see these dancers working with professionally-trained teachers, in a studio with the same floor as Lincoln, putting on full productions – it’s a great asset for the community. I’m happy to be able to support what they’re doing.”

“BTA alumni have gone on to professional careers as performers, choreographers, teachers, and founders of dance companies and schools throughout the country,” notes Clover Robinson, director of BTA. “Just to name a few, we’ve had Katherine Horrigan, who is the co-founder of Company Danzante and the director of dance at Adagio Ballet School of Dance in Arlington, Virginia. We’ve had Tim Kolman, who’s currently dancing professionally with Ballet Tucson. Cara Seymour is a Juilliard grad dancing in New York City at the Metropolitan Opera. Rebekka Ryan, who just last Christmas was dancing in The Nutcracker at the Arts Center, is now at Marymount Manhattan College.” Robinson herself started dancing with BTA when she was three years old, coming up through the program and going on to obtain a BFA in Dance from Wright State University. She toured internationally with Hubbard Street 2, and was a faculty member with Lou Conte Dance Studio and Dayton Ballet School, before coming back to her hometown and the dance school she started in as a child. “This was my second home growing up. I wanted dance to continue to be a part of my life after I retired professionally, and I wanted to be closer to my family. Teaching at the Arts Center, and then becoming the artistic director after Shelagh Dubsky retired, let me do that. This dance program has continued to grow, and that’s been personally and professionally important to me. I firmly believe that dance is for everyone. It’s an outlet for self-expression, and we all need that in our lives. If you want dance to be your career, we can provide you the training to make that possible, as well as a network of alumni to connect with. This summer we had Lonnie Davis Jr in as a guest instructor and choreographer in modern and contemporary dance. Lonnie and I danced together professionally, and it was wonderful to be able to give our kids and other dancers in the area the opportunity to work with him. If you just love music and dancing, and you want to do it purely for fun, you’re welcome here, as well – you don’t have to have professional plans to dance with us. Whatever a student’s reasons for dancing with BTA, they will get high-quality classes and performance opportunities. We invest in our students’ growth. We want them to discover their own unique potential.”

Rebekka Ryan as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Ballet Theatre Ashtabula’s 2018 production of The Nutcracker

One of those performance opportunities is The Nutcracker, which BTA presents every December for three weekends.  Rennick’s Dining for Dance event will culminate on December 6, the same day this year’s production of The Nutcracker opens. “It’s wonderful to have this tradition that brings our community together every Christmas. We have multiple generations of families who come see it year it after year. It’s such a special thing to be part of. And as an educator, being able to offer students this kind of performance opportunity, whether it’s The Nutcracker or our Spring Dance Concert, is invaluable. Every dancer is learning customized choreography that is adapted to challenge their particular abilities and showcase their strengths. It’s a tremendous experience for a young performer. I’m so grateful to Rennick for helping BTA serve our students.”

Rennick Meat Market is located at 1104 Bridge Street in Ashtabula. Ballet Theatre Ashtabula’s production of The Nutcracker will run December 6-8, 13-15, and 19-22; get tickets here. BTA’s dance classes will resume in January; call (440) 964-3396 for registration information.

Rennick Meat Market supports Ballet Theatre Ashtabula with lunch sales

From November 1 through December 6, Rennick Meat Market will donate 10% of its lunch sales (Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) to Ballet Theatre Ashtabula School of Dance!

BTA School of Dance has been teaching young people for over 50 years, and bringing our community together for the holiday tradition of The Nutcracker for 38 years. This season, you can help support the dreams, dedication, and hard work of these young dancers just by enjoying lunch at Rennick!

Rennick Meat Market is located at 1104 Bridge Street, Ashtabula.

Ballet Theatre Ashtabula’s production of The Nutcracker will run December 6-8, 13-15, & 19-22, Friday & Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m.

Film by Bob Lebzelter chronicling Ballet Theatre Ashtabula at Harbor film festival

The Ashtabula Harbor’s heritage outdoor film series ends Friday, August 23, with a 50-minute documentary by retired journalist (and Ashtabula Arts Center volunteer videographer) Bob Lebzelter on the grueling work it takes to put on a dance program at the Ashtabula Arts Center. “Fly On” chronicles the hours of work dancers and instructors put into the effort. While Ballet Theatre Ashtabula is known for its holiday “Nutcracker” offering, the Spring Dance Recital also requires dancers to spend hours and hours in practice and learning and creating choreography.

The film will be shown in the green space immediately west of Bridge Street Art Works, 1009 Bridge St.  Should it rain, the film will be shown the following week.

Lebzelter spent a month shooting video, chronicling the dancers as they evolved. “We take you to the practice rooms as students try different moves, make mistakes and try again,” Lebzelter said. “Then we quickly whisk you to the Arts Center stage. You will experience the dancing as I shoot right from the stage, from the audience’s perspective, from behind the stage and even above on the catwalk. I remember looking in back of me to see how much room I had so I wouldn’t fall off the stage while recording,” he said.

Students simultaneously worked on classic ballet and contemporary dance. The film interviews several of the participants about why they dance and what life lessons they get.

“Physically, dancing is incredibly difficult,” said dancer Jayson Gage. “Your body is doing things it doesn’t naturally do, like turning out and lifting your leg above a certain point, jumping as high as you can.”

The film looks back at the program as Director of Dance and instructor Clover Robinson goes over a photo of the troupe in the 90s and discusses the many people who ended up with careers in dance in far-flung areas of the world. It also looks to the future with young dancers, some not even in school yet.

“I think you will come away with an admiration for what these kids have accomplished and respect for their work ethic,” Lebzelter said.

Previous films in the harbor series have looked at Hulett unloaders, the Finnish contribution to the Harbor and the county’s agricultural heritage, as seen through 100 barn quilts. The films are free and appropriate for all ages. People should bring lawn chairs.

Dinner and a Show with Rennick Meat Market and “The Producers”

Dine at Rennick Meat Market and see The Producers at the Ashtabula Arts Center!

Tickets: $55 Adult, $53 Senior/Student/Military, $51 Child 2-12 (Includes show & meal)
Purchase tickets & make reservations through the Arts Center by 4 p.m. on Thursday prior to weekend of attendance. Call (440) 964-3396.
DRINKS & GRATUITY NOT INCLUDED. Seating at Rennick Meat Market is at 5 p.m. before evening shows & after matinees.

Appetizers (choose 1)
•Bratwurst with Braised Lentils
•German Pretzel with Beer Cheese & Stout Mustard
•Tarte Flambée – Bacon & Onion Flatbread with Crème Fraiche

Entrees (choose 1)
•Sauerbraten – Braised Brisket with Pretzel Stuffing & Red Cabbage
•Wiener Schnitzel with Arugula & Cherry Tomato Salad & Dill Cream Sauce
•Roasted Cod with Piperade & Horseradish Sauce

German Chocolate Cake

The Producers is sponsored by Rennick Meat Market