County’s first pro ballet troupe launches at Axelrod
THE AXELROD CONTEMPORARY Ballet Theater (AXCBT) — Monmouth County’s first professional ballet company — will hold its first performances, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center (APAC) in Deal on Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 29 and 30.
The AXCBT was established in the fall of 2017 under the leadership of board president Elise Feldman and artistic director and choreographer Gabriel Chajnik.
Chajnik, a Juilliard alumnus and resident of Ocean Grove, was introduced to APAC after meeting with a group of local advocates for the arts. Meetings with local school and dance program organizers led to a series of onstage workshops with musicians and professional dancers.
Chajnik said he chose Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to launch the company because it is “whimsical and has space for young, energetic dancers to be showcased in the play’s many fun characters.”
The performances will feature professional dancers from AXCBT, trainees, and a 20-piece orchestra conducted by Ocean Grove resident Jason Tramm, playing the music of Felix Mendelssohn.
Students are included, said Chajnik, because “we want them to have a chance to dance with professionals so they can not only look up to them but also be mentored and dance alongside them.”
Live auditions for the casting of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are completed, but students may submit a solo video audition if they wish to be involved in this production.
AXCBT is offering a by-invitation-only training program for local students to join in on performances in APAC’s and ACBT’s upcoming seasons.
The performances will be held at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35, $32 for seniors, $25 for students; visit