Almost a year after flash flooding triggered by the remnants of Hurricane Ida destroyed its North Union Street studio in Lambertville, NJ, the Roxey Ballet Company will present its first annual River Dance Festival August 26-28 at the Music Mountain Theatre, in Lambertville.
The festival will showcase choreographers and dance companies from across the country, as well as Roxey’s own and students from its Mill Ballet School Choreographic Workshop, according to a media release issued by the Roxey Ballet Company. The performances will encompass a range of styles, including ballet, modern, tap, and traditional Indian dance, the company says.
Different companies and choreographers will be featured during each of the festival’s three days. The ensembles expected to perform include:
Show times are 7 PM Aug. 26 and 27 and 1 PM Aug. 28. Tickets are $25 per performance. They can be purchased here. All three performances will also be livestreamed. The cost is $30 per show, which includes a $5 processing fee. You can register here.
Mark Roxey and his wife, Melissa Roxey, both professional dancers who performed with the Joffrey Ballet and American Repertory Ballet, founded the nonprofit ballet company in 1995. Originally, it was called the Hunterdon Youth Ballet. In 2008, the company performed at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
For much of the pandemic, the ballet company pivoted to streaming its performances. Still, Mark Roxey said it was a struggle to merely survive. The company and school were just starting to return to a degree of normalcy when Ida hit September 1, 2021. In all, the company’s three ballet studios and a black box performance space all needed to be demolished.
Mark Roxey questioned the future of his company as he surveyed the damage. But he and his staff quickly regained their footing and have been steadily building momentum ever since. Earlier this year, the Roxeys announced the opening of a new studio in Frenchtown, NJ.
The move expanded the company’s footprint in the Delaware River Towns. In the weeks following Ida, the Roxeys relocated their dance company and the Mill Ballet School, which they also operate, to the Event Center at the New Hope Eagle Fire Company’s headquarters in New Hope, PA.
Initially, the site, which includes a stage, was meant to be a temporary refuge while the Roxeys plotted their next steps. But with the news of the new studio at 6 Seventh Street, in Frenchtown, they also confirmed they were staying put in New Hope.
The company rehearses and performs at both locations, though the Frenchtown studio serves as its home base. And the New Hope location became the permanent home of the school.
In April, the company’s dancers took the stage at the Event Center to perform “Carmen,” a one-act play choreographed by Mark Roxey. For an ensemble that normally maintains an ambitious schedule, the production was a long time in the making. But, as the adage goes, better late than never, which was a distinct possibility only months earlier.