Dancing to help a friend back on his feet


Jeff Bartlett

Twin Cities dancers are gathering to support one of their greatest allies.

Jeff Bartlett, longtime dance presenter,was focusing lights up in a Genie lift at Burnsville Performing Arts Center on August 19 when the lift fell over. He suffered multiple fractures in eight ribs, a broken shoulder blade, a broken arm, a collapsed lung and three fractured vertebrae. Doctors say he is very very lucky to be alive.

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Tonight and tomorrow, nine different dance companies will perform at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis in what is being billed as a celebration and fundraiser for Bartlett. A reception will follow Friday's performance, and the opportunity to give additional donations will be available in the lobby.

As the artistic director of the Southern Theater, Bartlett created a venue where local dance companies were welcome to perform. Frequently he also did the lighting design for their shows. In 2008 the board of the Southern Theater let Bartlett go after thirty years of service, for reasons that are still not publicly known. Since then, Bartlett has been working as a freelance lighting designer, and most recently, as Dance Community Liaison at the new Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts.

Bartlett was expected to attend the performances, but an infection forced him to return to Hennepin County Medical Center for further surgery. According to Ritz staff, they are working on setting up a skype connection between the hospital and the theater.

The companies that will be performing are:

ARENA Dances

Ballet of the Dolls

Beyond Ballroom

Ethnic Dance Theatre

Flying Foot Forum

Jawaahir Dance Company

Katha Dance Theatre

Shapiro & Smith Dance

Zorongo Flamenco