Breakdancing Shakespeare

Breakdancing Shakespeare celebrates 10th Anniversary Season with Romeo and Juliet

By Erin Frederick, Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator

The cast of Breakdancing Shakespeare 'Hamlet' (2015). Photo by Defining Studios.
The cast of Breakdancing Shakespeare ‘Hamlet’ (2015). Photo by Defining Studios.

This summer Hartford Stage’s popular Breakdancing Shakespeare (BDS) program will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a brand new, edge-of-your-seat production of Romeo and Juliet. First performed during Breakdancing Shakespeare’s inaugural season in 2006, this all-new production, directed by Nina Pinchin and choreographed by Brandon Coulotte, promises to imbue Shakespeare’s classic tale with the electricity and youthful passion of modern hip hop. 

Created in 2006 in conjunction with the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s award-winning Neighborhood Studios program, Breakdancing Shakespeare is a paid, six-week summer apprenticeship for students ages 14 through 18 from the Greater Hartford area. Over the course of the program, students learn techniques of breakdancing, physical and vocal characterization, movement, and interpretation of classical text. They also take master classes with guest artists, developing skills related to the production. Past master classes have included mime, magic, mask-making, stage combat and color guard. The students use these skills to put a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean play which culminates in an exciting, high-energy public performance geared toward making Shakespeare accessible to audiences of all ages.

“It presents Shakespeare in a way that I don’t think many other programs offer,” says Farmington’s Danielle Hoffman, who played Gertrude in last year’s BDS production of Hamlet. “Besides just the dancing… it also places Shakespeare in a more modern context that I think really resonates in a modern world.”

Daisy Infantas, a Hartford resident who played Ophelia in last year’s production, summed up the program like this: “It’s by far the best thing that I have ever been a part of. It’s challenging… but it is FUN.”

Breakdancing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will present three public performances on the Main Stage at Hartford Stage, on August 11, 12 and 13. Tickets will go on sale in July.