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This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the February 11, 2004 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Valentine’s Day Romance

Can sweethearts succeed as life partners? Melissa and Mark Roxey think so. As co-directors of Roxey Ballet and the Mill Hill Ballet School in Lambertville, these dance and business partners keep busy on Valentine’s Day celebrating their combined talents.

For Valentine’s Day, the Roxey Ballet will once again highlight the romance of ballet with love and sweets with “An Evening of Romantic Dance.” The event is the company’s second annual Valentine celebration. The program of short romantic dances will be presented by Roxey’s professional dancers at the company studios on North Union Street on Friday and Saturday, February 13 and 14. The show features romantic highlights from such ballets as “Cinderella,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Also on the program are several new pas de deux created for the evening of romance by Mark Roxey. Each concert ticket ($50) includes a Champagne and Viennese dessert reception after the show.

New Jersey natives Melissa and Mark Roxey met as ballet students in New York and began their professional careers together. As principal dancers they have been affiliated with professional ballet companies that include American Repertory Ballet, the Dayton Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet. They have also appeared together as guest artists with Eglevski Ballet, Septime Webre Dance, and the North Star Dance Theater, among others. They founded their own company in 1994 as a means of ending their touring years and settling down back home. Hand in hand with the Roxey Ballet Company, is the Mill Ballet School, established in Lambertville in 1995 as the company’s official school.

Since founding his own company, Roxey has choreographed more than 30 works. He set the company’s full length “Cinderella” and “Nutcracker,” and last October debuted his full-length ballet version of “Dracula.” The latter ballet, from the dark side of the spectrum, has been a hit with audiences. For the “Evening of Romance” he promises the sunnier side of love.

“This program is like a Thanksgiving dinner at my Puerto Rican family home,” says Roxey, “— Lots of food for lots of people.”

The entire program is narrated by Annie Connors and feature poems and love letters of all different types, including romantic passages from the works of Shakespeare.”

“The final work is entitled ‘For the Love of It’ and that pretty much says it all about this concert. You can see the love these dancers have for their work,” says Roxey.

When it comes to making a success at the art of romance, Roxey is not one to mince words. As he likes to remind his friends, now is the time for those Superbowl guys to take the initiative, pick up the phone, and plan a Valentine’s date to remember.

— Nicole Plett

An Evening of Romantic Dance, Roxey Ballet, Canal Studios, 243 North Union Street, Lambertville, 609-397-7616, ext. 807. Friday, February 13, 7 p.m., and Saturday, February 14, 2 and 7 p.m


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