Students Form Ballet Society

Ensemble to Provide Performance Opportunities for Dancers

Two Eliot House sophomores are attempting to fill a void in Harvard's extracurricular offerings by founding a new student-run ballet society.

Organizers Jessica L. Fenoglio '94 and Bernice Ruo '94 said they created the group, tentatively called the Ballet Ensemble, to respond to a lack of ballet outlets for Harvard dancers interested in performing, practicing and teaching ballet.

Although eight people attended the introductory meeting, 15 to 20 students have expressed a keen interest in a ballet group for undergraduates, Fenoglio said.

Currently, she said, Harvard has only one advanced ballet class and no outlet for performance.

"There is currently no ballet group, and there are some very good dancers at Harvard," Fenoglio said. "And ballet dancers here have to either give up dancing or just take classes, and that's just not enough."


Though not yet officially recognized by Harvard College, the Ensemble has received a $500 dollar grant from the Office for the Arts.

On Sunday, the ensemble will begin offering student-taught classes in classical ballet twice a week at the Malkin Athletic Center. The group will eventually stage a spring performance, Fenoglio said.

Fenoglio said that members will also make presentations about ballet for Boston area public schools.

"We're kind of trying to create a team of people interested in ballet, and one of the most important things were doing is teaching the kids," Fenoglio said.

Susanna P. Witt '95, who has practiced ballet seven days a week for more than 10 years said she was extremely happy to hear of the new ballet group.

"When I applied here, I was disappointed that there really wasn't much opportunity to dance at all," she said. "But I'm really excited now that we have a group because I miss the exercise, and, most of all, I miss performing."

The Ensemble is currently looking for University sponsors, but Fenoglio said they have their eyes set on certain candidates.

"We're thinking of asking Neil Rudenstine to sponsor us. He did say he wanted to focus on the arts," Fenoglio said.

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