Senior Hannah Gregor danced the role of "Marie" in The Nutcracker in 2019 and 2020, but her experience was quite different the second time around, due to the global pandemic.
My name is Hannah Gregor, and I’ve been dancing with Southold Dance Theater for 13 years. Our upcoming show of Cinderella in the spring will sadly be my last time performing alongside my Southold Family. But this has me thinking about all the fun times I’ve had over the years…
In 2019, for our annual performance of The Nutcracker, I got the chance to dance the role of “Marie”! It was such an incredible opportunity, and I made so many fun memories over the months leading up to the shows and in the performances as well! “Nutcracker season,” as we like to call it, was over way too soon. Performing on the beautiful stage at The Morris Performing Arts Center, in front of thousands of people, is an indescribable experience! I’ll look back and cherish those memories for years to come. The moment the curtain closed at the end of the second act of our final show, I already missed it. I even missed the nervous feeling you get when you know it’s almost time for your entrance to take your place on stage. Reflecting on the experience after the last 2019 performance, I couldn’t help asking myself questions every dancer asks themselves: “If I’m lucky enough to dance this role again, what can I do better? What can I continue to work on to improve my dancing?”
When 2020 hit, no one knew what our future would look like. We thought it would be impossible for us to perform in what would be my last year of The Nutcracker. But Southold’s dedicated team didn’t give up. They wanted their students (and the rest of the community!) to still be able to partake in the 50-year-long Christmastime tradition of Southold’s The Nutcracker. They worked extra hard for us to have that opportunity, and again I danced the role of “Marie”. The cast and people behind the scenes practiced safety protocols to protect everyone from COVID-19. Due to safety precautions, things looked quite different this year. There was no stage to dance on, there were fewer dancers in the Corps de Ballet pieces to be socially distanced, and we wore specially made masks so our faces could be seen while keeping us protected. Southold was able to put on another beautiful production!
I’m very thankful to have had the chance to dance as “Marie”, not once, but twice! Even though the experiences were much different, I had so much fun both years!
Gregor dancing "Marie" in SDT's The Nutcracker in December 2019.
A brief Q & A with
Q: Where did you study dance?
A: ACT (Acting Conservatory Theatre) and Rockford College
Q: If you could live in any other city anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: Somewhere near the Mediterranean Sea, I think the languages are amazing. I would love to learn how to speak them along with taking in the culture. Plus it seems like it is warmer there!
Q: If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
A: That is so hard as I Love Music! "Word Up" by Cameo, "It's oh so Quiet" by Bjork, "Keep On" by D Train.
Q: What is the one thing you would want a stranger to remember about you after meeting you for the first time?
A: That I love to laugh!
Q: What is one thing about dance that is important to our society, culture, and young people?
A: That [dance] is for EVERYONE! There are so many styles, so many people that can ALL be represented in some way.
Youth American Grand Prix 2020
Eleven Southold dancers participated in the 2020 Regional Youth America Grand Prix competition in Indianapolis, March 5-8. YAGP is a prestigious International Ballet competition with 25 regional locations and eight international locations that include 12,000 dancers annually. Eight of Southold’s dancers competed in a total of 11 solo variations in classical and contemporary dance. Southold Dance Theater is proud to announce that Frederick Stuckwisch took 1st Place in the Men’s Senior Classical Division and Ben Zusi placed 2nd. Both of these young men were invited to compete in the International Finals in NYC (which has subsequently been canceled.) Southold’s ensemble of eight dancers placed in the Top 6 in the Ensemble Division. On the basis of their YAGP performance, these ensemble dancers were all offered positions, with no auditions necessary, in a Summer Intensive Program in Tampa, Florida. Southold takes great pride in our dancers’ accomplishments and in their deportment at the competition as they supported and valued each other and their competitors.
Congratulations to our YAGP Participants
Ainsley Hennel, Jillian Henning, Kendra Mohnke, Regina Murphy, Sophie O’Brien, Olivia Ritschard, Mia Sheppard, Frederick Stuckwisch, Teagan Wright, Ben Zusi, and Julia Zusi.
Southold names new executive director
Southold Dance Theater welcomes Veronica Rog as Executive Director. As Executive Director, Rog will lead engagement initiatives, community partnerships, development efforts, and oversee programming, performances, and long-range vision for the organization.
Rog brings ten years of professional experience in development, community outreach, engagement, grant writing, and advancement with not-for-profit organizations, and a passion for the arts, children’s enrichment programs, and community engagement. She holds a Master of Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University Bloomington and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese and Film, Television, Theater from University of Notre Dame.
“Ms. Rog is an outstanding addition to Southold Dance Theater and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organization. We are thrilled to have her step into this important leadership position.” said board President Chantelle Snyder.
Most recently, Ms. Rog served as Chief Development Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, supervising fundraising, strategic alliances, and programming. Kozelichki is a graduate of the Leadership South Bend/Mishawaka Signature Program class 46.
Please join us in welcoming Veronica to the Southold community!