From left, principal dancers Maya Butkevich as Sugar Plum and Madeleine Martufi as Clara in a scene from the show.

The Seiskaya Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a perennial holiday favorite on Long Island, returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook for a five-performance run from Dec. 17 to 19. This classical ballet rendition has earned praise from critics and audiences alike. 

 Hailed as Long Island’s most lavish “Nutcracker,” the Seiskaya Ballet production of the classic holiday ballet is truly an international collaboration beginning with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous score. Sets and several costumes were designed by Poland’s Margaret Piotrowska whose highly respected work in Polish television and stage productions has garnered wide praise. 

Directed by founder Joseph Forbes, scenery was executed by Scenic Art Studios which has been credited with painting over 300 Broadway shows. The imaginative and unusual sculptures utilized in the Seiskaya Ballet’s production were the brainchild of creative artist Matt Targon. Choreographed by celebrated Russian-born Valia Seiskaya, this acclaimed production is imbued with bravura dancing, energy and endearing charisma.

The cast will be led by leading dancer of Orlando’s United Ballet Theatre and Butler University graduate standout, guest artist, Max Lippman (Cavalier) and Seiskaya Ballet’s award winning principal dancers Maya Butkevich, Vivian Ye and Madeleine Martufi plus returning principal dancers Brianna Jimenez, Diana Atoian and Eva Pyrros.

Performances will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $34 children and seniors. To order, call 631-632-ARTS (2787) or visit 

From left, Claire DeVaney, Sonya Russo, Aviva Hellman, and Eileen Huntsman. Photo courtesy of New York Dance Theatre

Local young dancers will share the stage with New York City Ballet stars Indiana Woodward and Daniel Ulbricht in New York Dance Theatre’s 40th season of “The Nutcracker” at Hofstra University, 1000 Hempsteak Turnpike, Hempstead on Dec. 17 and 18 with performances at noon and 5 p.m. Woodward will perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Ulbricht will perform as her Cavalier. 

The young dancers, students at the Ohman School of Ballet in Commack, will perform multiple roles in the iconic holiday story ballet including children in the Party Scene, Toy Soldiers and Mice in the Battle Scene, Snowflakes, Angels, and various confections in the Land of Sweets.

Aviva Hellman, a seventh grader at West Hollow Middle School in Dix Hills and Sonya Russo, a sixth grader at Nesaquake Middle School in St. James, play the central role of “Clara” each in two of the four performances. Claire DeVaney, a seventh grader at Commack Middle School, and Eileen Huntsman, a sixth grader at East Northport Middle School, share the pivotal role of Clara’s brother “Fritz,” who breaks Clara’s Nutcracker and sets the plot in motion, each in two of the four performances.

This year’s cast also includes Chloe Cantillo, Anna Clemente, Elysena DeStefano, Brynn Farino, Anna Gross, Isabel Gross, Sofia Gross, Marilyn Ihasz, Emily Kern, Emma Martir, Ava Napolitano, Alyssa Tavares, Sara Tobia, Nina Van Zandt, Vivienne Vasquez, and Madison Wagner of Commack; Chloe Cheng, Esther Cheng, Mikaela Gluck, Emma Grabelsky, Galina Hellman, Ariel Kerley, Holly Lochridge, Elizabeth Pau, Carina San Jose, Adrianna Stucchio of Dix Hills; Olivia Deng of Melville; Clio Sun and Seraphina Moger of Greenlawn; Charlotte Stratton of Huntington; Addison Candelaria, Grace Galgano, and Kayla Kuprian of East Northport; Elodie Hennessy and Violet Hennessy of Centerport; Magdalen Schaefer of Kings Park; Sophia Ferro of Setauket; Olivia Wu of Stony Brook; and Mary Calefato, Laila DarConte, Chloe Foster, Molly Haft, Samara Kolodny, Evelyn McCaughey, and Amelia Grace Novellino of Smithtown.

With the elegant Christmas Party Scene, the drama of the magical growing Christmas Tree, the Battle of the Toy Soldiers and Giant Mice, the live Snow Storm, and the brilliant dancing in the Land of the Sweets, “The Nutcracker” appeals to all ages. In all, a cast of 80 children, pre-professional and professional dancers will bring this classic ballet to life on the stage of the John Cranford Adams Playhouse.

Tickets are $42, $32 seniors and children 12 and under plus $3 fee, available at or by calling 631-462-0964.

Come dance with the lions at the 8th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival. Photo from PJCC

Dragons will roar and lions will dance once again as the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17. The free event will take place at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson and the village’s inner harbor.  

A scene from last year’s festival. Photo from PJCC

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, Director of Operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

Opening ceremonies will begin at the Jill Nees Russell Performance Stage at the east end of the park at 8:30 a.m. and will include a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the national anthem by Sophia Bloom, a Blessing of the Dragon and the traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon.

“This is our 8th annual Dragon Boat Race Festival and we have 24 racing teams, last year 17 just out of COVID, so I think we are back to normal!,” said Ransome, ‘Mother of Dragons.’

With dragon boats provided by Great White North,  the first race scheduled for 9 a.m., boat teams will compete on a 250-meter, three-lane racing course. Each team is made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day, culminating in an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. where medals will be awarded in three divisions. Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge.

Team contests for the best team T-shirt, best drummer and best costumed drummer will be judged in the middle of the day. 

A scene from last year’s festival. Photo from PJCC

In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing. Cultural and educational vendors and retailers will be on hand as well including representatives from Power Home Remodeling, Pure Mammography ­­— Lake Grove, Northshore Properties Realty, Renewal by Anderson Windows, Mather Hospital, Stony Brook Chinese School, Rebel Thaiboxing and T-Mobile for Business. 

Always a highlight, food this year will include pot stickers, veggie lo-mein, burgers, tacos, bacon quesadillas, and empanadas and there will be an abundance of children’s activities including origami, trick yo-yo demonstrations, face painting, and Chinese calligraphy and crafts, courtesy of the Port Jefferson Free Library. In addition, an educator from the Center for Environmental Educational and Discovery will bring Ozzy the bearded dragon and other ambassador animals.

“The harborfront park lends itself to this event, with our team encampments, the performance stage for all the Asian entertainment and plenty of room for our food trucks, sponsors and vendors! This will be a great team building day and lots of fun. The Chamber is very proud to be  hosting this unique event,” said Ransome.

The event will be held rain or shine. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities! For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit

Schedule of Events: Saturday Sept. 17

7:45 a.m.  

Team Captains Meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m.  

Opening Ceremonies with Master of Ceremony Suzanne Velazquez, Asian Veterans Color Guard, Singing of the National Anthem by Sophia Bloom, and Blessing of the Dragon, ‘Eye Dotting’ ceremony

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Food Vendors, Cultural Crafts, Children Activities, Retail/Educational/Nonprofit Vendor Tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Continual Dragon Boat Races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. 

The Sound of Long Island Chorus:

Americana Program and Traditional Chinese Songs

10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Long Island Chinese Dance Group

A scene from last year’s festival. Photo from PJCC

11:15 a.m. to noon

Chinese Classical Long Fan Dance, Chinese Folk singing, umbrella dance, and instrumental performance of “Big Fish” by Port Jefferson High School Music Group

12 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.  

Lunch Break (no racing)

12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Taiko Tides Drumming and Oroshi Drumming contest

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. 

Parade of the Team T-shirts Contest 

Best Drummer Costume Contest

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  

Shaolin Kung Fu Lion Dance 

Kung Fu  & Tai Chi Demonstrations

2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  

Galante Martial Arts demonstrating Tai Chi, Armis (Filipino Martial Arts) and Jiu Jitsu

2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Stony Brook Youth Chorus

3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Yana Dance Group – Chinese Traditional Dance

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Yixin Dance Center – Chinese Classical Dance

4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Rebel Thaiboxing Demonstrations

4:30 p.m.

Last Dragon Boat Race

5 p.m.

Closing Ceremonies and Awards


Backstage School of Dance ribbon cutting. Photo from Councilmember Kornreich's office

The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 12 to celebrate the grand opening of the new location of Backstage Studio of Dance. 

Located at 200 Wilson Street in Port Jefferson Station, the studio is described on its website as “a place where kids of all ages, shapes and sizes learn to dance and perform and where creativity, individuality and self-expression is encouraged through a community of teachers, students and families who are passionate about the performing arts.” Serving the community for 35 years, the studio’s motto is “We don’t just teach you to dance, we teach you to love dancing.”

The event was attended by Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, students and staff. 

“Thank you to the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, especially Jennifer Dzvonar, Joan Nickeson and Kristin Winter for their assistance in organizing the ribbon cutting and to Assemblyman Englebright and Councilmember Kornreich for their support,” said Gwenn Capodieci, the executive director of the studio. She also thanked her “incredible staff who make up the backbone of Backstage Studio of Dance and all the loyal families that support BSD and trust us with their children. It takes a village to run a dance studio and we are truly blessed with ours!”

“Backstage Studio of Dance in Port Jefferson Station is home to a passionate group of teachers and trainers who have made it their life mission to not just teach dance, but to teach students to love dancing. They have been committed to serving our community’s kids for over 35 years and are starting a new chapter in their new location,” said Councilmember Kornreich. 

“Having a stage and her own location for the studio has been owner Gwenn Capodieci’s lifelong dream. I was so honored to be a part of their grand opening and can’t wait to see their next musical theater production performed at this new location. Congratulations to Gwenn and her amazing team,” he said.

Pictured in center from left, Gwenn Capodieci, partners Nicole Lattanza Terlizzo and Pamela Christopher Strain, Councilmember Kornreich and New York State Assemblyman Englebright.

For more information, call 631-331-5766 or visit

The iconic summer romance between Baby and Johnny returns to the big screen when Dirty Dancing hits select theaters nationwide on Sunday, Aug. 14 and Wednesday, Aug. 17 for a special 35th anniversary presentation courtesy of Fathom Events and Lionsgate.

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in a scene from the 1987 classic ‘Dirty Dancing.’

Loved by generations of fans, this cinematic treasure has inspired multiple films, a stage version, and reality dance competitions watched around the world. 

In the summer of 1963, 17-year-old Baby (Jennifer Grey) vacations with her parents at Kellerman’s resort in the Catskills. One evening she is drawn to the staff quarters by stirring music. There she meets Johnny (Patrick Swayze), the hotel dance instructor, who is as experienced as Baby is naive. Baby soon becomes Johnny’s pupil in dance and love. The film also stars Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes, Jack Weston, Kelly Bishop, Jane Brucker and Lonny Price. 

A worldwide box-office sensation when it was released in 1987  and generating over $213 million, Dirty Dancing captured hearts worldwide and took home the Best Original Song Oscar® for “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” 

The screening will also include an exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette, along with a new interview with Jennifer Grey. Locally the film will be shown at Island Cinema De Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville and Farmingdale Multiplex, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale on Aug. 14 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets in advance, visit

Lionsgate is currently planning to return to Kellerman’s for a new Dirty Dancing film, starring and executive produced by Grey, to be released in 2023.


Stacy Davidson, right, is donating prom dresses this year.

Stacy Davidson of Pattern Finders/Stacy’s Finds in Port Jefferson knows how unexpected expenses can be difficult especially during these unpredictable times. To help local families, she wishes to donate gowns and tuxedos to enable a wonderful experience for local seniors who might have to skip the event due to monetary issues. 

“My amazing customers always answer the call for a prom drive. Rather than limit the young ladies to the donated gowns, I will make my entire vast inventory of spectacular gowns and formal dresses  available for the girls to come to the shop and choose from. Fedora Lounge Boutique Hair Salon in Port Jefferson is one of the local salons donating hair styling for some of the girls and Give Kids Hope in the village will also supply the students in need,” said Davidson.

Located at 128 East Main Street, Port Jefferson, Pattern Finders is open Wednesday through Sunday. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 631-928-5158.

Photo courtesy of Mulvihill-Lynch School

Five talented young ladies from the Mulvihill-Lynch Irish Dance Studio of Lake Ronkonkoma are excited to be heading to Belfast, Ireland on April 8 to compete at the 2022 World Irish Dance Championships. This will be the first international competition the studio will be attending in three years. 

Pictured are Maggie Webber, 18 from Lake Grove, Tori Corcoran, 17 from Holbrook, Millie Valenti, 10 from Sayville, Kyleigh Pilkington, 15 from Port Jefferson Station, and Leanna Sheridan, 16 from Hauppauge. 

We wish them the best of luck!

The Town of Brookhaven offers Country Line Dancing classes at the Robert E. Reid Sr. Recreation Center, Route 25A and Defense Hill Road, Shoreham on Mondays, March 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25 and May 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. These classes welcome beginner and intermediate dancers. Classes will teach students popular line dances while having fun and getting exercise as well. Fee is $55 for 8-week session. Must pre-register by March 10 by calling 631-744-2601.

Renowned New York City based dance company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook on Saturday, Feb. 5 for a spectacular evening on the Main Stage featuring their two newest full length pieces performed on the same program for the very first time, in celebration of Black History Month. The show starts at 8 p.m

Under the artistic direction of dance Icons Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, (both former principal dancers with ALVIN AILEY DANCE and star choreographers), COMPLEXIONS will perform two monumental pieces, “WOKE” and LOVE ROCKS”, born out of the current crisis’ we are facing in the world. Through dance, COMPLEXIONS confronts this moment in time and the question of what it means to exist in today’s society and how we connect in spite of it.

“WOKE” is a physical reaction to the daily news. A bold and dynamic socially conscious one act ballet featuring the full company that examines our humanity in conjunction with today’s political climate.

LOVE ROCKS, which also features the full company, is set to the powerful music of Grammy Award-winner Lenny Kravitz. It is a fun, thrilling and moving dance and a tremendous compliment to “WOKE”.

Dancing these two pieces together in the same program is a challenge for the company. Complexions Dance is working overtime through extreme pandemic conditions to create this unique program for the Staller Center as they present it to the University community and greater Long Island region.

Tickets range from $42 to $58. For more information or to order, visit,  call 631-632-ARTS or email [email protected].

Major Sponsors are News 12 – Campolo, Middleton & McCormick – Danfords Hotel & Marina – Friends of the Staller Center – Hilton Garden Inn – Island Federal – Jefferson’s Ferry – Renaissance – Stony Brook Medicine – Suffolk County – WLIW – Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation.


The Staller Center prioritizes the safety of its patrons, staff and students, and will enforce strict Covid-19 protocols for the Fall 2021 season. At this time, visitors must show proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event (children ages 12 and under are exempt when accompanied by a parent or guardian who meets the requirements). Additionally, each audience and staff member must wear a mask while inside the venue. All audience members will be advised to not attend if they feel unwell, have symptoms of Covid-19 or have recently been exposed to someone with the disease.

With these guidelines, the Staller Center ticket policy for return or exchange of tickets will be liberalized to accommodate patrons who cannot attend due to the above.


Complexions Contemporary Ballet was founded in 1994 by Master Choreographer Dwight Rhoden and the legendary Desmond Richardson with a singular approach to reinventing dance through a groundbreaking mix of methods, styles and cultures. Today, Complexions represents one of the most recognized, diverse, inclusive and respected performing arts brands in the World. Having presented an entirely new and exciting vision of human movement on 5-continents, over 20-countries, to over 20-million television viewers and to well over 300,000 people in live audiences, Complexions is poised to continue its mission to bring unity to the world one dance at a time.

Complexions has received numerous awards including The New York Times Critics’ Choice Award. It has appeared throughout the US, including the The Joyce Theatre and Lincoln Center in NYC, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Paramount Theatre/Seattle, The Music Center/Los Angeles, Winspear Opera House/Dallas, The Cutler Majestic Theater/Boston, The Music Hall/Detroit, and has toured extensively around the world to venues including The Bolshoi Theater, The Kremlin, The Mikhailovsky Theater, and the Melbourne Arts Center.

The company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. Whether it be the limiting traditions of a single style, period, venue, or culture, Complexions transcends them all, creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of our world—and all its constituent cultures—as an interrelated whole.

Together, Rhoden and Richardson have created in Complexions an institution that embodies its historical moment, a sanctuary where those passionate about dance can celebrate its past while simultaneously building its future. In the 27 years since its inception, the company has continued to awaken audiences to a new, exciting genre with their singular approach of reinventing dance and contemporary ballet. Their work has borne witness to a world that is becoming more fluid, more changeable, and more culturally interconnected than ever before—in other words, a world that is becoming more and more like Complexions itself.

With stunning gifted dancers and powerful choreography, Complexions has been hailed as a “matchless American dance company” by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Companies like Complexions are game-changing: they’re forging a path for what ballet can be instead of what it historically has been.”- The Guardian