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NYC-based dance artist returns home for “Back To Buffalo” concert

© by Photo Credit Ashley Garrett

In 2007 Buffalo native, Marisa Ballaro, left home for New York City to pursue her artistic dream. Ten years later, she returns to the Queen City for a limited run performance.

Growing up,  Marisa studied ballet with her mother, Michelle Zalewski Ballaro, at her studio, Ballet Arts Center for Dance. While attending high school, Marisa danced and taught weekly at her mom’s studio. Striving to pursue her love of dance more seriously, she spent summers training at the New York State Summer School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, NY under the direction of former Paul Taylor dancer, Carolyn Adams. She double majored in Dance and Interdisciplinary Arts for Children at SUNY Brockport. Upon graduating, Marisa moved to the “Big Apple” to pursue a career in dance. After five years of presenting her choreography in split-bill programs and showcases throughout New York City, she launched her own modern dance company, Ballaro Dance. The company just completed its fourth NYC season, and to honor the start of their fifth this fall, Marisa and her dancers will return to Buffalo to present a weekend of dance: two evening concerts and a master class for the community.

Each season, Ballaro Dance has presented three successful evening concerts in Manhattan: Barefoot From Buffalo (June 2014), Brothers and Sisters (June 2015), and Sounds In Space (July 2016.) The fourth Ballaro Dance season, this past April, the company was presented by Greenspace (Queens, NY) in Take Root, a curated monthly performance series. The inaugural season of Barefoot From Buffalo launched the vision of Marisa’s determination to independently produce her choreography. She presented six dances which were created throughout her journey from her hometown of Buffalo, through her college days in Brockport, to New York City.

The second season’s production of Brothers and Sisters featured an evening length modern dance piece investigating her Catholic faith while paralleling the structure of a traditional mass. In 2016 Marisa collaborated with composer David Schanzer to create an evening of dance pieces, all featuring his music and her choreography. Two pieces from the concert featured his live performance on drums and piano. Next weekend’s concert, Back To Buffalo, will feature dances from all three of these concerts.

You can expect to see momentum, musicality, and emotion explored through the wide range of dance pieces. Some will be upbeat, lively, and powerful; others will have a spirit of gentle storytelling that utilizes characters and relationships. Each piece, however, will make you feel something – a major goal of the choreography is to provide that for her audience. Community members can join the company on stage for an open-level modern dance class on Saturday afternoon as well.

The class is FREE with a Back To Buffalo concert ticket purchase. Interested movers can contact to register, or for more details.

In addition to her choreography and performance, Marisa is a dance educator. She leads the dance program at The Brearley School, a girls’ independent school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. She spends her days doing what she loves: teaching, dancing, and creating. She is grateful to her Buffalo roots for giving her the foundation to grow into the artist and the person she is today.

Photo Credit: Stephen Delas Heras

Back To Buffalo

Flickinger Performing Arts Center @ Nichols School
1250 Amherst Street, Buffalo, NY 14216

Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $15 Students/Seniors; $20 General Admission. Click here to purchase tickets  or for more event details.

Open-Level Modern Dance Master Class with Ballaro Dance, taught by choreographer Marisa Ballaro

Saturday, August 26, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

FREE with purchase of Back To Buffalo concert ticket. Contact to register


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