(June 5, 1946 – August 9, 2014)
Elena Del Vecchio Rusnak, B.A., M.A., M.A.L.S., Professor of Dance and English (retired), fell in love with Modern Dance in college (University of CT), choreographed for their biannual concerts, and was president of the university’s international dance organization, Orchesis. Elena spanned the performing/teaching/choreographing roles for most of her adult life. As Dance Chair at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and founder and driving force behind the Dance Department at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Elena was a pioneer for dance education in Connecticut. One of her main achievements was the award to NVCC of the Formal Pathways to Dance Certification K-12 by the State Board of Education. She was instrumental in the creation of this certification and was the recipient of the several CT and national Grants/Awards for Instructional Innovation. Elena’s anthropological study of dance embraced diverse student communities. She developed multicultural, jazz and modern curricula and choreography that led her to study cross-cultural aspects of dance in China, Bali and Java. Her interest in American Dance Legacy works further enabled her to bring historical repertoire to her students.
One of her immense pleasures was mentoring young choreographers and collaborating with other artists. Her favorite choreography was inspired by literature and was performed throughout New England. An arts liaison to the community, Elena also developed major partnerships with dance groups across the tri-state area but most especially with Litchfield Performing Arts in sponsoring Project Poetry Live. Using dance as a discipline to promote multicultural understanding and a focus of the mind and body, Elena concerned herself with the analytical and creative approaches to technique and theories as well as the process and the product. Inspiring others to understand and embrace an artistic vision and to produce artistic expressions with appropriate emotional intent and meaningful movement was her objective. She was excited about her role as artistic director for her alumni company ATTAK.
An event to celebrate Connecticut’s dance community