Dear Miss Toth,
I've been a ballet aficionado for decades. During the 1970's and 1980's I held season's tickets to Boston Ballet and followed the meteoric career of prima ballerina, Miss Edra Toth. Fast forward to 2014. For many years the Boston Ballet Nutcracker was a treasured tradition for my mother, nieces, sister and me. Now I live in Maryland, and I wanted to bring my niece and grand-niece to a Nutcracker performance near their home in NH. I was delighted to find Northeastern Ballet Theatre. When I called to order tickets, Miss Edra answered the telephone and we shared memories of Boston Ballet.
On the night of the performance at Oyster River High School I was as excited and mesmerized as seven year old Leah. The elaborate stage sets and glorious costumes surpassed even those of Boston Ballet! I thought they were borrowed from a professional company, but Miss Toth explained that the dazzling costumes were sewn by devoted parents of the dancers. Dancers of every age and experience level filled the stage with grace, beauty, and magic. Our proximity to the stage contributed to an immersive experience that surpassed even that of the Wang Center in Boston.
After the performance, we had the honor of meeting Miss Toth, Miss Lissa Curtis, and Miss Naomi Sawyer. Each star was warm, gracious, and enchanting. My niece Cassandra and her daughter Leah left with stars in their eyes and a memorable lesson in the accessibility of ballet.
Now the NBT Nutcracker is our new and eagerly awaited tradition. I am thrilled to share the magic of such a superb ballet performance with the fourth generation of our family! We can't wait to applaud wildly for the 2015 performance!!
“Last January a very anxious, very scared young lady came to live with me. On the surface, she had composure like crazy. Underneath she was unsure and angry. No wonder: her world up to the end of January was one of abuse and neglect. She was removed from that situation, put into the foster care system and, in turn, came to me – a very troubled 13 year old. At that time, she stood about 5’4” tall, but weighed only 83 pounds. Though she was never allowed to participate in any extra-curricular activities and, in fact, was kept from going to school often, it was clear that she was interested in lots of things, curious, I think, about what she’d missed in her life up to that time. My grandson began ballet lessons with Miss Karen at Northeastern Ballet Theatre when he was almost 4 years old. As little children will do, he danced around , practicing his moves, leaps, turns and arm positions. I watched this young teen foster child watching him. I saw her sitting still, but moving her feet. I watched while she carried dishes to the sink to be washed after supper, her arms ‘in position.’ I began thinking, this young lady, tall and slender, looked like a ballerina. Her once almost frail body, after having been able to eat regular, healthy meals, was beginning to strengthen. Her energy level was growing, too. The physical part of her gaining ground was making headway that was good. It was exactly what was needed. But there was stil so much inside that was bottled up. How could I reach inside? How could I get rid of the trauma of the past for her? The simple answer was, I couldn’t. Only she could. And ballet could help. Ballet creates inner as well as outer strength. It teaches positive concentration, confidence and determination. This young lady was badly in need of these skills. I knew, however, that funding from the system for lessons of any kind was non-existent. Not one to let lack of money get in the way, I went to Miss Karen at NBT, signed my foster teenager up for beginning ballet lessons and began looking for a benefactor, someone who might help pay for weekly lessons, someone who would in a very real sense, be helping to pay for ‘therapy,’ too. Ballet therapy. To my surprise, our benefactor turned out to be Northeastern Ballet Theatre. Miss Edra found out about our predicament and offered – OFFERED – free lessons for the spring session. No one could be more grateful than I am. I have watched my foster child changing from an almost withdrawn, sad, scared little girl to a beautiful, well-spoken, self-assured young woman. She’s not there yet. The transition isn’t complete. It probably won’t be for a long while. But she’s on her way – gaining balance in her body, in her head and in her heart everyday. Ballet has helped immeasurably. This newly hatched ‘swan’ can’t wait for the Summer Intensive at NBT. Thank you, Edra, for your understanding and your generosity. The foundation you’ve helped create for this child wil give her the courage, strength and confidence she will need to build her new life.” - V. T.
"Northeastern Ballet Theatre has allowed our daughter to follow her passion; has allowed her to just dance and become the person she is. The opportunity for our daughter to dance in actual real performances, not recitals, has been absolutely amazing. The quality and level of the instruction continually impresses me; NBT's ability to push my daughter beyond what she has believed to be her limits and the confidence that comes with that, I cannot say enough good things about NBT." - Mary and Steve Bargdill
"Before studying ballet with Edra, my daughter needed something to focus on to help with discipline and anxiety issues. After 3 years at Northeastern Ballet Theatre she has blossomed. Ballet has helped her focus, be more disciplined, and revealed the dancer inside." - Shannon Tibbetts
"My daughter, Ellie, has loved to sing and dance since she could walk. Her interest in ballet began the first time we read Angelina Ballerina to her. Since then, her interest flared into a passion for all things ballet. She could not get enough of the ballet books at the library, watching videos of ballerinas, and dancing incessantly around the house and neighborhood. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer is always, “a ballerina.” As she has progressed in school, she sometimes answers, “An astronaut ballerina” or an “archeologist ballerina,” but she still longs to be a ballerina. However, due to financial circumstances we did not enroll her in ballet classes. For her birthday this past spring, she asked for one thing – ballet lessons. We asked family members to contribute, but they could not give much towards the cost of lessons. It was hard to do, but I decided to ask Ms. Toth for help in making Ellie’s dream come true. The first lesson, Ellie could not stop smiling. I have never seen her so happy. She looks forward to every lesson and she cannot get enough of ballet. If she could she would, 'Dance all day long every day.'" - Deb Casto
"I've been dancing at *** Dance School for 12 years and I have learned more in the past two days at NBT than I have in those 12 years!" P. M.