There are very few chapters of the Nutmeg Ballet story that can be written without mentioning this year’s keynote speaker, Denise Warner Limoli.
Ms. Limoli, who has staged Les Sylphides, a sublime one-act ballet blanc, for The Nutmeg graduation performances, is an associate professor of dance at Skidmore College, member of the board of directors at the National Museum of Dance, The Nutmeg Ballet’s Senior Classical Ballet Mistress, and is the author of “Dance in Saratoga Springs.”
Sharon Dante, Executive Director of The Nutmeg Ballet, met fellow Connecticut native, Denise Warner Limoli, at the Hartford Ballet back in 1967. Soon after their friendship began to flourish, their paths would diverge, with Denise Warner Limoli heading off to New York to dance with American Ballet Theater (ABT) while Sharon Dante returned to her hometown of Torrington, Connecticut to found what was then a small dance studio on Migeon Avenue.
“Sharon was a brilliant teacher. Attention to detail made such a difference.” As past and present students well know, the word “details” is a very important one at The Nutmeg Ballet. “As well it should be, because that attention to detail and careful training make all the difference. You must train the bodies and the mind,” said Warner Limoli.
“It takes years of extreme dedication to details and process. Ballet is an art form, not just a series of exercises or tricks. Dancers must experience the beauty of our traditional repertoire and continue to explore these ballets in order find and develop their own artistic sensibilities,” Warner Limoli elaborated.
Despite the miles and their busy lives, the two would maintain a close connection. Ms. Limoli frequently returned to Torrington during ABT’s off season to teach classes, stage repertoire, and to perform at the Torrington Arts Festival as a guest of The Nutmeg Ballet.
By the time the Nutmeg Ballet had moved to Water Street, Sharon Dante was inviting her long-time friend and colleague to teach. More than four decades later Denise Warner Limoli still returns to The Nutmeg Ballet to share her extensive knowledge and experience with a new generation of eager students. “Nutmeg is like home to me,” she said.