Nutmeg provides quality training in all areas of our curriculum and has an outstanding artistic faculty dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of classical ballet training. All of Nutmeg’s faculty members bring to the classroom a broad range of experiences and each is acknowledged as a professional in a particular discipline. Click below to read the biographies of our instructors and guest artists.
Sharon Dante founded the Nutmeg Ballet in December 1969 and has developed a training program and performance curriculum which has attracted students from over thirty-four states and a number of countries around the world. Ms. Dante was responsible for the growth and development of the training program and its related performance curriculum. During her artistic career, she coached dancers who participated in international competitions in New York, Paris, Lausanne, Varna, and Moscow.
After graduating from Endicott College (‘64), University of Hartford (’66), and the Hartford Ballet, Ms. Dante became a de Rothschild Scholar at the Martha Graham School in New York City in 1967. She danced as a soloist with the Charles Weidman Dance Company, Rudy Perez Dance Company, and the Larry Richardson Dance Company, where she performed principal roles throughout the United States and Europe. Joining the Hartford Ballet as a performer, faculty member, and assistant to the director in 1969, she was instrumental in the development of that company’s educational programs throughout New England. Ms. Dante began her extensive study of the Vaganova syllabus of classical ballet training in 1972. She later became well known for her work based on this method – so much so that she has been featured on the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine in recognition of her training programs. She is one of the few Americans to have participated at the Moscow World Dance Competitions in the 1970’s and 80’s. The White House Commission’s Presidential Scholars Program has twice recognized her as “Distinguished Teacher.” Instrumental in the resurrection and re-opening of the Warner Theatre in 1984, Ms Dante was a founding member of the City of Torrington’s Economic Development Commission. She has proudly served several Mayors of Torrington in the role of Artistic Adviser.
From 1997-2001, Ms. Dante and Nutmeg Ballet’s Board of Directors initiated and completed a multi-million dollar capital project in downtown Torrington. In 2000, the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts was proud to be the recipient of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts Governor’s Arts Award. Also, in 2001, the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce named her “Business Woman of the Year.”
Currently, Ms. Dante serves as Executive Director to the Nutmeg Conservatory turning over the position of Artistic Director to Nutmeg Ballet graduate, Victoria Mazzarelli, in 2010. She remains committed to continuing her long time relationships with many Nutmeg Alumni and current students whom she mentors on dance and extended career planning.
In November of 2014, the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council awarded Ms. Dante the CultureMAX award for her Artistic contributions. She is an avid golfer and a member of the Greenwoods and Eastwoods Ladies Golf League. Her mantra in life, inspired by former Governor Ella T. Grasso, is “Grow Where You Are Planted.”
Victoria Mazzarelli was trained by the Nutmeg faculty for 14 years and with Ms. Dante as her coach, was awarded the only gold medal at the 1984 New York International Ballet Competition at the age of seventeen. Invited to join the Basel Ballet in Switzerland under the direction of Heinz Spoerli, she was quickly promoted to principal dancer. Ms. Mazzarelli not only had the opportunity to dance leading roles in much of the company’s classical repertoire, but also in works by distinguished choreographers such as Hans van Manen, Jiri Kylian and William Forsythe. Ms. Mazzarelli’s contact with Forsythe led her to join the Frankfurt Ballet in 1990 where she remained as a principal dancer until1996. During that time, she toured extensively and had the opportunity to work with Alonzo King, Ohad Naharin, Jan Fabre, and Saburo Teshigawara.
In 1996, she returned to Switzerland to join the Zurich Ballet as principal dancer. In the summer of 2000, Ms. Mazzarelli continued dancing as a guest artist with the Frankfurt Ballet and the Schauspielhaus Zurich and in 2001, she returned to Basel to join the newly formed Basel Ballet under the direction of Richard Wherlock.
Victoria Mazzarelli returned to Connecticut in 2003 to join the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts as Associate Artistic Director where she currently teaches, coaches and choreographs for the next generation of dancers. Appointed as the Conservatory’s Artistic Director in 2011, Ms. Mazzarelli continues in this role to date and also serves as guest teacher for MOMIX and enjoys performing various engagements as guest artist.
The Nutmeg maintains a complete guest artist program.2017-18 Programs Brochure
In addition to our year round professional faculty, Nutmeg has an ongoing guest teacher program that presents a variety of dance artists over the school year and at our summer programs. These teachers deliver a distinctive experience for our students. Our guest artists includes some of these regular guests and others. In addition several Nutmeg Alumni return on the guest artist program as well to teach and mentor.
- Natasha Fielding Brooksher ’92
- Josh Brooksher
- Jonathan Eden ’03
- Debbie Fratta
- Emily Patterson Nicholas ’96
- Thomas Nicholas
- Andrew Parker
- Quinn Pendleton ’03
- Moses Pendleton P’03
- Alexandre Proia
- Dustin Shane ’03
- Phillip Skaggs ’98
- Andrea Spiridonakos ’94
- SYREN Modern Dance Company
Nutmeg Alumni return on the guest artist program as well to teach and mentor during all of our programs. Other Guest Artists have included: Maria Youskevitch, Amanda McKerrow, Genadi Sevaliev, John Gardner, Catherine Battcheller, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Virginia Johnson, Barry Hughson (88 graduate)