Main Street Ballet. Photos by Steve Seymour, Essennelle Studios.

When the cast of Main Street Ballet in Woodbury was rehearsing last spring for their production of Giselle, the leading man was running across the stage. Or, attempting to run. The problem was, his feet kept going out from under him; the floor had no traction so running became more of a slide.

Main Street Ballet had been around for decades (next year will be their 30th year performing The Nutcracker), but while their performances over the years had gotten more refined, their dance floor had not.

The wear and tear of practicing and performing two full-stage ballet performances each year and increased numbers of participants and workshops had taken their toll, and the worn floor was putting dancers at risk for injury.

Said Andrea Usami, grants coordinator at Main Street Ballet, “A new dance floor was a really pressing need of ours but we needed people to come together and help us. We couldn’t easily raise almost $7,000 for the new floor ourselves.” Fees and ticket sales are the ballet’s primary sources of funding, but they rely on those revenues simply to make ends meet.

Now, one year after sliding through Giselle performances, Main Street Ballet has a gleaming new dance floor thanks to Give Local Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills. In just their first year participating in Give Local, they raised $8,000 from 136 enthusiastic donors through a campaign they largely powered through email and social media. And, they won two prizes thanks to local business sponsors.

The new floor has layers of special foam that springs and provides just the right amount of traction. It protects dancers—especially from ankle injuries. And, the floor can be rolled up and moved from their practice space in Woodbury to their main performance space at Pomperaug High School in Southbury.

Usami said, “The floor is something precious to our dancers. You can see by the way they care for it now.”

It’s also quite literally the “ground floor” (and grounding floor!) for Main Street’s mission.

“We are supporting and preparing young people for professional careers,” Usami said, “but the greater majority of our dancers don’t want to become professionals.”

Added Usami, “The dancers are taught to be leaders and mentors to others, to be creative, and to understand and be comfortable with their bodies….We are a safe and supportive space for young people to learn to express themselves.”

Main Street Ballet is already setting their sights on Give Local Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills on April 25-26. Their goal? New costumes—for angels and mice!

View photos of Main Street Ballet (and their new dance floor!) Photos by Steve Seymour, Essennelle Studios

Give Local Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills will be held on April 25-26, 2017. Learn more at