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5x5 Contemporary Dance Festival celebrates 20th anniversary with live performance

Sonia Plumb 2019 5x5.jpg
5x5 Contemporary Dance Festival
The Sonia Plumb Dance Company performed at the 2019 5x5, the last time the festival was presented live.

Over the weekend, the 5x5 Contemporary Dance Festival marked its 20th anniversary.

“5x5” refers to the format of the festival. Five professional dance ensembles work with five collegiate ensembles to create and perform new works or works in progress. This year’s performers included Ballet Hartford, Dimensional Dance, Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet, Immix Dance Project, Moxie Dance Company, New England Ballet Theatre of Connecticut, MBDance Theatre, Fiona Scruggs, University of Saint Joseph, Eastern Connecticut State University and Sacred Heart University.

The festival encourages diversity in its performers and dance styles.

Susan Murphy, artistic director of 5x5, said the festival is a unique opportunity for student dancers.

“Even though it is a professional performance, we really take into account that we’re giving students an opportunity to perform on the same stage with the professionals, take master classes, and potentially be picked up by some of the dance companies,” said Murphy, a professor of dance at the University of Saint Joseph.

The 5x5 Contemporary Dance Festival also featured a day of master classes and the film One in Four by dancer Margot Noelle Paul. The festival culminated Saturday evening with a showcase performance at University of Saint Joseph’s Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities in West Hartford.

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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