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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Eileen Clark Named Berkshire Dance Theatre Executive Director

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, July 22, 2005

Berkshire Dance Theatre Executive Director Eileen Clark
Adams- Eileen Clark is not a professional dancer but the town resident been kept on her toes since being named the Berkshire Dance Theatre’s full-time executive director in June.

Energy and Passion

“I would like to start getting into partnerships with places like the Topia Arts Center, Clark said during a July 22 interview at the BDT 34 Commercial St. studio. “I want to bring dance and arts enjoyment to the community.”

Clark noted that the school’s mission includes “giving back to the community,” and reciprocation could include community dance performances and student visits to long-term care centers.


During the interview, Clark’s energy and passion for the non-profit organization appeared limitless. Her daughter Kara is a long-time BDT student, and Clark said that she knows the benefits of the program first-hand. That’s why she agreed to become a member of the school’s Board of Directors in August 2004, she said. During a late August 2004 board election, Clark was elected board president. She continued in a volunteer capacity until January, when she was appointed to a part-time position as interim executive director.

“Things were really busy from January to June,” she said. “We were putting together a whole new program [Eight Days A Week, presented in June].”

Clark’s background in business and retail work proved useful to the school, and a decision to make the part-time job a full-time position was approved by the directors in June. Clark was hired for the job.

The tasks associated with leading the school are time-consuming, Clark said, but emphasized that the work is, for the most part, very fulfilling.

“From January to June, I was working pretty much non-stop, and I enjoyed it thoroughly,” she said. “I am willing to put time and effort into the future of this school.”

Community Outreach Ahead

On the agenda is expansion of the dance program as well as fitness programs launched in June. Moscow Ballet ballerina Natalya Getman is slated to host an intensive ballet workshop at the studio in August; the workshop is open to dancers who train at other dance schools.

“We do feel it’s important for other dancers to be able to take advantage of this,” Clark said. “This isn’t our curriculum, what we are trying is to offer this as an opportunity. We really want to involve other dancers from around the region in workshops.”

A summer fitness program offering Pilates, Nia, body conditioning and strength training sessions is generating positive community response, Clark said.

“The summer fitness program is doing very, very well,” she said. “The Pilates is doing extremely well and we are looking to expand that in the fall. The aerobics and strength training are also doing well and will also be offered in the fall.”

Nia sessions have found a niche but as a lesser-known fitness program, Clark said that people may want to observe or try a class before making a commitment to regular sessions.

“People may contact me to arrange for one free trial Nia class, so they can see what it is all about," Clark said. “It is all choreographed movement, but it is not rigidly choreographed, so people are able to do what is comfortable.”

Senior citizens are an important facet of any community and ideas for a seniors program are being crafted, Clark said.

“We are very interested in opening a program for seniors,” she said. “We want to expand our base in the community.”

Instructors Wanted, Volunteers Thanked

The Berkshire Dance Theatre was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1982. The company operates satellite studios at the Pine Cobble School in Williamstown and at 331 Main St. in Bennington, Vt.. A number of scholarships are awarded yearly to BDT students.

Two of the school’s seven instructors are leaving to pursue activities in the Boston area and one in France. The school and qualified dance instructors are being sought, Clark said. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in dance studies, Clark said. Multi-disciplined applicants are preferred but being able to teach more than one dance discipline is not required, she said.

The school’s Artistic Director Karyn O’Toole created the successful and original June BDT show, and a dedicated contingent of volunteers are invaluable to the school, Clark said.

“I think that this year we had a true company production,” she said. “Karyn is so talented and we have such a strong group of volunteers. We can never thank them enough. I am so excited about the school and the future.”

Information about the Berkshire Dance Theatre may be acquired by calling 413-743-4645.

Susan Bush may be reached by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or at 802-823-9367.

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from: Caitlinon: 11-30 00:00:00-2006


 
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