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POSTCARDS: Claire Kretzschmar, Artistic Director of Ballet Hartford, Choreographs "Raffaella" in Indiana

POSTCARDS: Claire Kretzschmar, Artistic Director of Ballet Hartford, Choreographs "Raffaella" in Indiana

By Claire Kretzschmar

Published on April 29, 2024
Photo by Megan L.C. McNally

WHAT: Raffaella, a new fairytale ballet

WHEN: June 29 - 30, 2024

WHERE: Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend Indiana, 211 N Michigan St, South Bend, IN

TICKETS: Click here

Claire Kretzschmar. Photo: Megan L.C. McNally

Claire Kretzschmar, Artistic Director of Ballet Hartford and former New York City Ballet soloist:

My journey as a choreographer began unexpectedly after I retired from the New York City Ballet in October 2022. I discovered a growing passion to bring my favorite music to life through ballet steps. Over the past two years, I have primarily choreographed for my enjoyment and Ballet Hartford. My first ballet, A Ceremony of Carols, premiered in December 2023 at Ballet Hartford, and my second ballet, Venus, is set to premiere for the company in May. Raffaella will be the third and most significant ballet I've choreographed to date.

Claire Kretzschmar, Isabella Lafreniere and Jonatan Lujan. Photo: Megan L.C. McNally

Raffaella is a fairytale ballet inspired by the life of a radiant ballerina, Raffaella Stroik, who died unexpectedly at age 23. The ballet was commissioned by her parents, Duncan and Ruth Stroik, who also wrote the ballet's libretto. I feel a great responsibility to share this story through dance and bring to life the vision Duncan and Ruth have imagined since their daughter's passing. With the help of a dedicated and talented artistic team from around the country, we hope to honor Raffaella's life and her deep belief that "beauty will save the world." 

Claire Kretzschmar, Isabella Lafreniere and Jonatan Lujan. Photo: Megan L.C. McNally

Over the past few weeks, I've had the privilege of collaborating with NYC-based dancers Isabella LaFreniere (NYCB) and Jonatan Lujan to develop the principal roles of the ballet: Raffaella and The Prince. We've crafted 'sketches' or rough drafts of the ballet's opening solos and pas de deux. This collaborative process, where we iterate and refine the choreography until it harmonizes with the ballet's themes and music, is crucial to bringing the ballet to life.


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