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Arts & Culture

Columns Dance Festival Returns To Bushnell Park

Hartford’s Sonia Plumb Dance Company is back for a second year with the Columns Dance Festival in Bushnell Park.

Late last summer Sonia Plumb, artistic director of the company, debuted the festival as a way to raise funds for the Columns Dance and Wellness Centre -- a place where dancers not only can learn and train, but also receive physical therapy and career counseling.

“The whole concept of Columns grew out of a need for space,” said Plumb. “I needed space, there are all of these smaller dance companies in the Greater Hartford area that needed space, too. There isn’t a space out there just dedicated to dance.”

This year’s festival celebrates dance itself, according to Plumb.

“[It] is more about the bigger, broader dance, rather than ‘here’s modern, here’s ballet, and here’s hip-hop.’ Dance is in every culture, and the rhythms and the music that come from that. You don’t have to be a professional dancer to reap the benefits of all of these rich forms of dance and creativity,” said Plumb.

The Columns Dance Festival is a day of classes and performances. Plumb says the classes are designed for anyone to join in, regardless of experience. This year’s lineup includes flamenco with Alison Bogatay, Sova Dance and Puppet Theater, belly dancer Elisheva, as well as more mainstream performances from groups like Ballet Hartford. This year’s headliner is the Connecticut-based ensemble Pilobolus.

The festival runs from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Bushnell Park band shell.

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Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”

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