Ballet Vermont’s vision is to bring high quality ballet to all corners of Vermont while using art to highlight social issues important to our community in new and inspiring ways.
Their Farm to Ballet project debuted in the Summer of 2015 and aims to connect the agricultural and dance communities of Vermont. Farmers, food, community, live classical musicians, and the graceful art of ballet. This is what makes Vermont’s Farm to Ballet so unique. Now in its fourth year, agriculture and art will provide audiences with a delightful summer evening of entertainment with eight performances on farms throughout Vermont. Produced by Ballet Vermont, performances begin in July and run through August, and will include a live string sextet during the entire feature-length production.
The ballet takes place without traditional staging, lights, or backdrop of a theater-based performance. Audiences enjoy the pastoral setting of the farm, animals, equipment, classical music, and learn more about what is involved in operating a sustainable farming operation. This year’s farm venues include Shelburne Farms, Grand View Farm in Washington, Studio Hill in Shaftsbury, Golden Well Sancturary in New Haven, Billings Farm in Woodstock, Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, Sandiwood Farm in Wolcott, and Moonrise Farm in Essex Junction.
The choreography tells the story of a Vermont farming operation from spring to fall. The performances serve as fundraisers to support and honor the work of local farmers and conservation organizations. Over the last three summer sessions, the project has raised over $55,000.
The ballet has gained local and national attention. In the past few years, Farm to Ballet has inspired articles and stories in the Boston Globe, on National Public Radio, and on the USDA blog. Last year, Vermont PBS and Velocity Media produced a documentary about the making of the project.
Vermont native and homesteader Avi Waring will once again dance the lead role of the farmer. An accomplished dancer and dance educator, she co-founded Ballet Wolcott and the Montpelier Movement Collective. She lives on seventeen acres in Wolcott where she raises goats, chickens, and has a garden.
Farm to Ballet is the brainchild of former professional dancer and Vermont native Chatch Pregger who dreamed up the project after teaching adult ballet classes in an outdoor setting.