The Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Breakdancing Shakespeare showcased its summer production this weekend at Hartford Stage with three performances of Twelfth Night.
The 90-minute show was designed to lure spectators into Shakespeare through high-energy performances accompanied by a mixtape of music from hip hop’s golden age. It featured teenagers from the greater-Hartford area who had to audition to get in the arts apprenticeship program.
Samantha Acosta, 16, a junior at both West Hartford’s Hall High School and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, played the highly sought-after Countess Olivia.
“Our choreographer—he came up with all of it and I like that he put a twist to Shakespeare because it still goes with the story and it adds more modern and upbeat kind of things,” Acosta said.
Glen Jones, 14, played Sebastian. His character showed up at the right place at the right time with the right moves, which landed him with Olivia at the end.
Jones just completed his first year in the program.
“I want to dance my whole life,” Jones said. “If not dance, I want to act.”
Students are paid $100 a week to learn the responsibility of managing the money they make by holding a job.
“The cash is really good and they help me realize how good [that] can be,” Jones said.
The performances were a culmination of a six-week apprenticeship program that began in May. Students must pass acting and dancing auditions to get into Breakdancing Shakespeare.