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Brighton Ballet Theatre Starts New Life At KCC

Showing a dancer’s grace, the Brighton Ballet Theatre School (BBT) has sashayed over to Kingsborough Community College without missing a step. And with the addition of a free shuttle bus service to and from Brighton Beach and the school, along with the possibility of offering accredited dance classes, the BBT couldn’t be happier. “The administration of Kingsborough Community College has taken us in and recognized the importance of our institution to the community,” said BBT Executive Director Irina Roizin. “We finally have classroom windows facing the ocean. The beautiful Leon M. Goldstein Theater is a splendid performing theater, and it was of great use and convenience to us during the 2005 ‘A Winter Fairy Tale’ production,” she added. Founded in 1987 to preserve and share the rich historical traditions of Russian dance in New York, the BBT Company moved its operation to Kingsborough last September from its longtime location at the Shorefront Y, 3300 Coney Island Avenue. About 75 percent of the BBT programs are now at Kingsborough, and the other 30 percent, while still at the Shorefront Y, will be moving to the school June 30, said Roizin. Roizin thanked the Shorefront Y for its help in the move and praised Kingsborough President Dr. Regina S. Peruggi, Dean of Continuing Education Dr. Saul W. Katz, and the school’s administrative staff for its support. Once the BBT started utilizing and paying rent for the space at the college, the school also allowed dance students living in Brighton Beach access to its shuttle already in use for Kingsborough students. The shuttle runs from the Coney Island/Brighton Beach Avenue intersection in front of Washington Mutual Bank every 15 minutes, Monday through Friday while school is in session. “Without asking, they took us in and gave us space for rehearsal and performing,” said Roizin. “The community should appreciate how Kingsborough outstretched their hand to help Russian children in the community,” she added. Roizin said having space at the school also allows the BBT a chance of expanding their dance classes for ages 3-18 beyond ballet and Russian dance. “We offer an array of courses on Saturdays such as Beginners and Intermediate Ballet, American Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Music Appreciation,” said Roizin, explaining that the BBT has about 400 students. “College students from Kingsborough happily participate in our Jazz, Break Dance and Hip-Hop classes. The faculty and staff eagerly join our Latin and Ballroom dance classes. That’s what makes a great community,” she added. Roizin said although the BBT’s main dance medium is ballet, and the company performs two full ballets a year, she is pleased to expand the classes and feels dance should become an accredited course at the school. Currently, Kingsborough offers accredited courses in drama, theatre and music, but none in dance. “We would like to make the [dance] courses eligible for official college credit,” said Roizin. “This is a goal. We also have students in high school who would love to get a degree in advanced dance. This would be a great thing to do.” For more information on the BBT, visit their website at www.brightonballet.com or call 769-9161.

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