Introduction: Brittany Fridenstine-Keefe and her husband Matthew moved from New York City to Rockford in January. Matthew is the new Artistic Director of the Rockford Dance Company and Brittany is a dancer and instructor. She will dance the part of Cinderella later this month. I had the opportunity to see a short preview at RDC’s Hansel & Gretel performance and it was, in a word, breathtaking. After the performance, I met Brittany and introduced her to my 3 year old granddaughter. Brittany knelt down to talk with her for a few moments and made a lasting impression. Two months later my granddaughter randomly tells people she met the Cinderella.
The Rockford Dance Company submitted Brittany’s inspiring story:
When Brittany was young, she had double vision. She was enrolled in dance lessons when she was four years old because she was cross eyed. Brittany’s mother was a therapist and hoped dancing would help her with coordination and improve her vision. Eventually, Brittany had an eye surgery to correct her crossed eyes, but the love of dance was deeply instilled.
Through all of the changes early in her life, Brittany found stability in the training of dance. She was determined to become a ballerina and was accepted into the prestigious professional training program at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Brittany finished her training while performing in the company productions of the Nutcracker, Coppelia, and A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Although she she was determined to dance, she saw the value of a good education and through hard work and vigilance she graduated as valedictorian of her high school class.
After high school, Brittany moved across the country to Pittsburgh, PA in hopes of landing a full time dancing contract, being accepted to the prestigious Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Graduate Program. Eventually she was hired in Pittsburgh, but she kept her gaze on the horizon searching for artistic fulfillment. She went on to continue her career with Ballet Memphis, Minnesota Dance Theatre (Minneapolis, MN), the James Sewell Ballet (Minneapolis, MN), American Repertory Ballet (Princeton, NJ), Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance (Ashevelle, NC), and Morphoses (New York, NY).
She has performed principal roles in all of these companies. Some of Brittany’s highlights include: Emily in a ballet adaptation of the Thorton Wilder play Our Town, Sugarplum fairy in the Nutcracker, as well as works by Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and many more. Each role provides insight into a new character or place.
Brittany’s dancing career has offered her an opportunity to see the world. She has performed in Iceland, Germany, Italy, and Colombia. Dancing is more than a career, it is a lifestyle. Through sharing her passion with people in many different countries and cultures she has learned the power that dance has to transform the ordinary to the extraordinary. Dance provides the opportunity to travel the globe both in the physical realm and by using your imagination.
Brittany has dedicated herself to become the eyes for the next generation. She teaches dance and she is certified to teach the GYROTONIC® expansion system to dancers and people who wish to feel like dancers.
Rockford Dance Company’s Cinderella will be performed at the Coronado Theatre, March 24, 7:00 PM and March 25, 3:00 PM. For ticket information contact: rockforddancecompany.com