Nutmeg Nuggets by Jack Sheedy for the Register Citizen
TORRINGTON — Maybe you’ve seen them — dozens of young people walking across the bridge in downtown Torrington three times a day.
Who are these kids and where are they going?
They are students at Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory. And, if they are walking south across the Naugatuck River, they’re on their way to the Torrington Elks Lodge #372 at 70 Litchfield St. for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If they’re walking north, they’re on their way back to the Conservatory at 58 Main St. to hone their skills in classical ballet technique, pointe, partnering and more.
“The Elks reached out to us last fall to offer their food services,” said Victoria Mazzarelli, artistic director at the Nutmeg. “Our chef, Denis Frauenhofer, at St. Peter/St. Francis School, where the dancers had been eating, retired and we needed help. The Elks have really come through for us.”
Three times a day in the summertime, between 80 and 90 summer students from Nutmeg’s pre-professional training programs walk from the Conservatory to the Elks Lodge, about two-tenths of a mile. After Labor Day, resident students in the regular programs will enjoy lunch and dinner at the Elks, Monday through Friday.
Karen Tuck, housing director at Nutmeg, said, “The meal program is great. They serve healthy meals and cater to special dietary needs. They are very accommodating to kids with special diets.”
Kelly Kampartus, head chef for all events at the Elks Lodge and at Elks Pond on Guerdat Road, said she and her staff take extra care to cater to special dietary needs. “We have 14 vegetarians and 12 students who cannot eat gluten,” she said of the current summer enrollment.
Several students also have allergies, and so there are separate containers in the buffet for nuts, dairy products, and even peaches.
Kelly said she is impressed with the orderliness and politeness of the students, who came to Torrington from all over the globe. “It’s such a pleasure to serve them. Their manners are just impeccable, and all the groups have been just absolutely wonderful. It’s a neat experience,” she said.
Sharon Dante, founding director of the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory, said, “When we needed to find a way to feed our young students, the Elks stepped up to the plate big time, and I can’t thank them enough. Well, I also want to personally thank Denis Frauenhofer, the former chef at St. Peter/St. Francis School, who took excellent care of our students’ dietary needs for many years before he retired last year. It is great to be embraced by a local organization such as the Elks. Kelly and her team of assistants at the Elks have been magnificent to the point that our students are loving the program and their residency here in Torrington.”
The students in the summer program will take part in a demonstration performance at noon August 10, in the Premiere Studio at the Nutmeg Conservatory. The younger students will perform variations they learned during their time at Nutmeg, and all students will present a final presentation of scenes from “Coppélia,” choreographed by Victoria Mazzarelli.
For tickets, go to www.warnertheatre.org or call 860-489-7180.
Three times a day in the summertime, between 80 and 90 summer students from Nutmeg’s pre-professional training programs walk from the Conservatory to the Elks Lodge, about two-tenths of a mile. After Labor Day, resident students in the regular programs will enjoy lunch and dinner at the Elks, Monday through Friday.View Story