Tag Archive | "North Sea"

Man Charged in 1990s Murders of Two Women, Suspected in Third Murder of Woman Found in North Sea

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JohnBittrolff

John Bittrolff of Manorville is accused of murdering two women in the 1990s and suspected in a third murder, in which the woman’s body was found in North Sea. Mugshot courtesy Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

By Tessa Raebeck

A carpenter from Manorville who has been charged with the murders of two women in the 1990s is a also suspect in the death of Sandra Castilla, whose body was found in North Sea in Southampton in December 1993.

John Bittrolff, 48, who is married with two children, was arrested Monday, July 21, and charged with two counts of murder in the second degree. He was arraigned in Central Islip and ordered held without bail.

Mr. Bittrolff is accused of murdering Rita Tangredi, 31, of East Patchogue and Colleen McNamee, 20, of Holbrook, who were both strangled and beaten. They were killed in November 1993 and late January 1994, respectively. Both women are believed by authorities to have been prostitutes.

“The cause and manner of death of both of these women are exactly the same,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a press conference Tuesday, July 22. “There are significant evidentiary similarities between these two murders, Tangredi and McNamee, that he is now charged with and the murder of Sandra Castilla, whose body was found in North Sea in the Town of Southampton.”

The body of Ms. Castilla, 28, of Queens, who was strangled, was found in the woods on November 20, 1993 off Old Fish Cove Road.

The possible connection of Mr. Bittrolff to her murder is still under investigation, according to authorities.

According to Mr. Spota’s spokesman, Robert Clifford, Ms. Castilla “was not a prostitute but led a similar lifestyle.”

Mr. Bittrolff was charged after his brother Timothy submitted his own DNA evidence to the state police database. The DNA was matched to samples found at the crime scenes and police confirmed that John Bittrolff is the killer of both Ms. Tangredi and Ms. McNamee, Mr. Spota said.

“I just feel really relieved, finally,” Ms. Tangredi’s son, Anthony Tangredi, told reporters at the press conference.

Authorities do not believe Mr. Bittrolff to be the serial killer known as the Long Island Serial Killer or the Gilgo Killer who is believed to have murdered 10 to 14 sex workers over a period of 20 years, with the most recent discoveries of remains found in the spring of 2011. That killer dumped his victim’s bodies along Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach in Suffolk County and Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County.

“The evidence recovered from the bodies of Tangredi and McNamee, the manner in which their bodies were found and the crime scenes are unique to them and very and distinctly different from the Gilgo crime scenes,” Mr. Spota said.

East End Weekend: What to Do July 11 – 13

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Malin Abrahamsson, "Winter Lot," mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

Malin Abrahamsson, “Winter Lot,” mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

From shark hunting to art grazing, a carefully-curated selection of top picks to do on the East End this weekend:

Art Market Hamptons brings booths from selected modern and contemporary galleries to Bridgehampton, returning for its fourth season from Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 13.

Scott Bluedorn of Neoteric Fine Art.

Scott Bluedorn of Neoteric Fine Art.

With 40 participating galleries, Art Market is more exclusive than other art fairs. Local galleries like Neoteric Fine Art, Sara Nightingale Gallery and Grenning Gallery will feature their artists in booths.

The fair is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, July 11, and Saturday, July 12, and from 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 13, at the Bridgehampton Historical Society, located at 2368 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton.

 

The Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton shows East Hampton artist Richmond Burton in an exhibition running July 12 through August 11.

“Known for his dazzling kaleidoscopic abstractions, Richmond Burton melds geometry and naturalism to usher the pictorial language of his predecessors into a contemporary context,” the gallery said in a press release. “With swift, vibrantly hued marks, Burton creates densely gridded compositions that morph into expansive waves of pattern, their overlapping rhythms at once steady and unstable.”

The exhibition will feature Mr. Burton’s last large-scale paintings created in his East Hampton studio, as well as his more recent works. An opening reception is Saturday, July 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Silas Marder Gallery, located at 120 Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton.

 

The Shark’s Eye All-Release Tournament & Festival returns to Montauk Friday, July 11 through Sunday, July 13.

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A little girl watches a shark being tagged at the Shark’s Eye Festival and Tournament in 2012. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

The weekend-long event is “Montauk’s only satellite tag, catch-and-release, high stakes, big game sport fishing competition combined with cutting-edge science, conservation and informative entertainment focused on saving sharks,” according to a press release.

The tournament, held in the Montauk Marine Basin, offers prize money of $10,000. In 2013, participating teams tagged and released 64 sharks, including 33 mako and 31 blue sharks. Four sharks were tagged with satellite tracking devices.

Although it may sound scary, the event offers fun for the whole family, as kids can see sharks up-close-and-personal and learn about conservation and marine wildlife. The festival is free to the public on Saturday, July 12, from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, July 13, from 2 to 6 p.m. A dock part Saturday night runs until 10 p.m.

The tournament and festival are supported by marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

“There is no other fishing tournament like Shark’s Eye,” Mr. Harvey said in the press release. “This tournament combines the thrill of shark fishing, practical conservation measures, and meaningful fisheries research and community involvement into a single event. It is truly the future of shark fishing tournaments.

The Montauk Marine Basin is located at 426 West Lake Drive in Montauk. For more information, call (631) 668-5900.

 

In its annual Sag Harbor house tour, the John Jermain Memorial Library presents five homes–one in North Haven and four in Sag Harbor Village–to the public. The houses were specially picked for their unique and personalized interior decorating and for the feeling of “home” each conveyed. For more information on the house tour: read the Express’ full article here.

Suffolk County to Spray for Mosquitos in Southampton and East Hampton

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Salt marshes throughout Suffolk County will be sprayed with pesticides by helicopter to control mosquito larvae on Tuesday, July 8.

The Suffolk County Department of Public Works’ Division of Vector Control plan to use large droplet, low altitude application of BTI and Methoprene between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow. A press release from the Suffolk County Department of Health named the marshes that will be sprayed tomorrow. In Southampton Town: Stokes Poges, Jagger Lane, Moneybogue Bay, Westhampton Dunes, Meadow Lane, Iron Point and North Sea.

In East Hampton Town Napeague, Beach Hampton and Accabonac Harbor will all be sprayed with larvicides.

The Suffolk County Department of Health wrote that no precautions were recommended for this spray, as the helicopters will be flying low and avoiding inhabited areas: “Human exposure from this operation is unlikely and the products involved have no significant human toxicity,” according to the release.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman introduced a bill last year that would restrict the use of Methoprene, a larvicide that has been linked to killing lobsters. Mr. Schneiderman continues to seek support for this bill; similar laws have been passed in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Arlene Schroeder’s Inn Makes it Easier

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arlene

Arlene Schroeder in front of her house, the Edgemere Inn. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

Tucked away on a quiet private drive off of Noyac Road in North Sea, Arlene Schroeder and her West Highland terrier, Hazel, prepare to welcome guests to their home, The Edgemere Inn—a bed and breakfast for the physically challenged.

Ms. Schroeder had worked for the state as a service coordinator for the developmentally disabled for the majority of her professional life when, at the age of 45, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“Until you’re disabled, or in a wheelchair, you have no idea,” she said on Monday, 19 years since her diagnosis. Many hotels, she explained, are not easily navigated by wheelchair-bound patrons. Even restaurants that advertise themselves as being wheelchair-accessible frequently have one step between the entrance and the dining room, which Ms. Schroeder said, “can be like a mountain.”

A native of Hicksville, Ms. Schroeder spent childhood summers at her aunt and uncle’s beachfront house on Edgemere Drive in Southampton.  Her aunt and uncle would sail their boat to Mystic, she said, while she and her grandmother would escape to the house overlooking Little Peconic Bay. Her grandmother, not a fan of the sand or sun, would stay inside while a 10-year-old Ms. Schroeder would explore the surrounding beaches and wilderness.

Ms. Schroeder was “very close” to her aunt and uncle, who left her the house in their will some 10 years ago. After working for the state for 27 years, Ms. Schroeder retired.

“I retired because I felt I wasn’t giving my consumers, the taxpayers enough,” she said. “And I felt it wasn’t fair to the consumers I was working with.

So Ms. Schroeder moved into the house she had summered in as a girl and began to make changes to it. Doors were widened, floors leveled and ramps installed in order to make the rooms of the house wheelchair accessible.

Ms. Schroeder did some of the work for preparing for progression of multiple sclerosis. The disease, the cause of which is still unknown, attacks the nervous system, progressively disrupting the communication between the brain and body.  Two weeks ago Ms. Schroeder got a new motorized wheelchair that she now has started using around the house, “I don’t like being in a wheelchair,” she said. “But I like the ease with which I can get around now.”

The real driving force behind the remodeling, though, was to open up a bed and breakfast on the water for the physically challenged. Four years ago, Ms. Schroeder got her 501c4, status as a not-for-profit. She is now applying for her 501c3, which would change her status to a nonprofit. If accepted, that would mean that she would not have to pay any taxes if she were to turn a profit. “I haven’t made a profit yet,” she added.

But making money is by no means her goal, anyway. Ms. Schroeder strives to create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere for those who have difficulty getting away. “I tried to make it like a bed and breakfast, not like a hospital room,” she said in one of the four bedrooms in her house (one is her own room, one is not quite ready for paying guests, she said.)

The rooms are large, airy and have the desired feel of a small bed and breakfast. Only small details distinguish them from those in any other inn. But those small details, Ms. Schroeder said, are all crucial.

Her hallways and doorways all had to be widened from 24 inches to 36 inches to enable wheelchairs to pass through. Her showers have been redone to allow them to fit wheelchairs—one bathroom has a seat in it to allow guests to move themselves from their chairs into the shower.

“I made some mistakes,” said Ms. Schroeder, pointing up at the bathroom mirrors from her wheelchair. She explained that she needed to have them tilted down, to allow her guests to see themselves while seated.

But those mistakes are not stopping her. Ms. Schroeder continues to expand and improve the Edgemere Inn. At a fundraising event at the Southampton Social Club on Saturday, June 28, the not-for-profit received donations that will go toward funding new projects.

Among these are an outdoor shower, a ramp down to the beach and an elevated garden. “What I would like to do, is to have raised gardens so that people can pick flowers, if they want to, or strawberries, or tomatoes,” she said pointing to part of her 1.2-acre property.

But the most valuable donation she received on Saturday, she said, was a woman’s offer to volunteer at the inn for 20 hours a week. “That really meant the most to me,” she said.

Her customers are not just the physically challenged in need of respite, she explained, but can be those who come to visit family who do not have wheelchair-friendly homes.

Last summer, Ms. Schroeder had a guest who had not been able to visit her sister in Sag Harbor because her son’s cerebral palsy had drastically limited the number of places they could stay.

“People can have their families come meet them here too,” she said.

New Offerings on Tap at Taps in North Sea

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Bartender George Williams pours a glass of one of Taps’ 14 draft beers. Stephen J. Kotz

 

By Genevieve Kotz

 

As the owner of Studio 89 gym, Rich Decker is no stranger to making over clients’ bodies, but his latest project was his own restaurant.

Mr. Decker recently gave his North Sea Tavern a complete renovation, doubling both the size of the bar and the number of draft beers available, and renamed it, appropriately, Taps.

Taps, which is located on North Sea Road in Southampton, opened on April 10 and is the kind of place that caters to customers who want to stop in for a beer, grab dinner or enjoy live music.

“We have the number-one beers in the world and we have local IPA’s,” Mr. Decker said of the restaurant’s extensive beer offerings.

At Taps, there are 14 different draft beers offered, including but not limited to Lagunitas, Miller Lite, Guinness, Lager, Blue Moon, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Peroni as well as eight different bottled beers. A pint of beer is between $5 and $6, which is “ridiculously priced for this area,” according to Mr. Decker. The restaurant also has a full bar and specializes in mojitos and margaritas.

With entrees ranging from $8 for a burger to around $25 for higher priced entrees, customers can expect good food and beer for a good price, according to Mr. Decker.

“It’s a very friendly restaurant,” Mr. Decker said, “We are kind of like a Hamptons-style restaurant without the Hamptons prices.”

While the sign above the door boasts “Brews, Burgers and Wings,” Taps also serves a full menu of pastas, steaks, seafood and other American pub-style dishes.

The restaurant has seven big screen TVs with surround sound, making it an ideal location for watching major sporting events like the ongoing Stanley Cup finals. Soccer fans will be glad to hear that Taps will be showing all of the FIFA World Cup matches this summer.

Besides catering toward sports fanatics, Taps regularly features live music and other musical performances. Every Friday night, it has live music with different performers booked until the end of summer.  On Wednesday and Saturday nights, there will be a DJ, and it will host Reggae on the Deck every Sunday afternoon. Starting in July, they will be hosting a new music venue, Summer Acoustic, from 9 p.m. to midnight on Thursday nights.

Mr. Decker, who has been on the East End for the last 30 years, has made a career with nightclubs, health clubs and restaurants. Five years ago, he opened Studio 89, a private fitness studio in Sag Harbor that offers one-on-one training as well as fitness classes such as TRX, Spin and Zumba.

Because of his experience with fitness, Mr. Decker made sure that his menu allows people to enjoy their meals without having to sacrifice their health. Most of the meals are based on proteins and complex carbohydrates and Taps also serves plenty of chicken and grilled vegetable dishes for people that want to eat on the leaner side. There are also plenty of gluten free and vegan options. The restaurant is also willing to substitute menu items with something healthier, at no extra charge.

“If it’s not on the menu, just ask and we’ll make it for you,” Mr. Decker said, “We’re very customer friendly.”

Taps is open seven days a week. It opens Monday through Thursday at 3 p.m. for late lunches and dinner, Fridays at noon for lunch and dinner, and it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 9 a.m.

For more information, check out its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TapsSouthampton.

 

Arson Charge Levied After Bridgehampton Fire

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Heller_BHFD Working Fore 167 Dune Rd 4-19-14_5919

Michael Heller photography; reporting by Kathryn G. Menu

Heller_BHFD Working Fore 167 Dune Rd 4-19-14_5855

Update, Sunday, April 20:

Southampton Town Police Detectives arrested David Osiecki, 54, of Sagaponack and charged him with arson in the third degree, a class C felony, in connection with a house fire at a $34 million home on Dune Road in Bridgehampton Saturday.

According to police, Mr. Osiecki, formerly of Sag Harbor, was arrested at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. He was also charged with arson in the fifth degree, a class A misdemeanor, for his alleged involvement in a prior brush fire in the Bridgehampton-Hayground area. He was held overnight for arraignment and was expected to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Sunday.

On Saturday, several fire departments on the South Fork were called in by the Bridgehampton Fire Department to battle a blaze on Dune Road. The fire, which was dispatched to the Bridgehampton Fire Department at 5:53 a.m., was fought with additional firefighters from the Amagansett, East Hampton, Sag Harbor, North Sea, Southampton and Hampton Bays Fire Departments, was declared suspicious by the Southampton Town Police Department, whose detectives, along with the Suffolk County Arson Squad, were investigating the fire’s cause and origin.

Heller_BHFD Working Fore 167 Dune Rd 4-19-14_5895

Heller_BHFD Working Fore 167 Dune Rd 4-19-14_5905

Local is Always Better, Says Carpenter of New Gig at Page at 63 Main

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Well known East End chef James Carpenter will lead the kitchen at Page at 63 Main

Well known East End chef James Carpenter will lead the kitchen at Page at 63 Main.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Workers are still building a rooftop garden to grow fresh salad greens and vegetables and completing a back terrace serving area at Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, and the restaurant’s new chef, James Carpenter, who arrived just two weeks ago after his most recent stint at East Hampton Point, is busy himself, pulling together a new menu in time for the coming summer season.

The restaurant, once known as Spinnakers and now co-owned by Gerry Wawryk and Joe Traina, is undergoing a rebirth to a more sustainable, and health-conscious approach under Mr. Carpenter’s discerning eye. “I’m making the menu to be a little more seafood driven,” said Mr. Carpenter, who also has a reputation as a practitioner of slow food cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients.  So it is out with “the goopy, deep fried dishes,” and in with the freshest of ingredients, like those that will be grown on the roof and are already sprouting from a series of “aquaponic” gardens set up in a back dining room.

Mr. Carpenter, who came to the East End to open Savannah’s restaurant in Southampton Village, in the 1990s and was the longtime chef at Della Femina in East Hampton, said he joined Page because he was intrigued by the owners’ plans to develop the aquaponic gardens, which are fed with water that passes through fish tanks to provide the growing greens with a ready source of organic fertilizer.

“You can go to King Kullen and pick up a bag of mesclun mix and it tastes like water,” Mr. Carpenter said. “But if you try our salads, you’ll say, ‘This is the most flavorful salad I’ve ever had.’”

Besides the restaurant grown greens, Mr. Carpenter said the bounty of eastern Long Island’s farm fields and waters makes it easy to focus on locally grown ingredients.

So diners can expect fresh tomatoes and sweet corn from Balsam Farms in Amagansett, mushrooms and vegetables from Dave Falkowski’s Opened Minded Organics in Bridgehampton, and other fresh produce from the Green Thumb in Water Mill and Satur Farms in Cutchogue, as well as cheeses from the Ludlows’ Mecox Bay Dairy in Water Mill and Howard Pickerell’s “Peconic Pride” oysters, which are raised in Noyac.

Diners can expect to see such items as Carta de Musica, which literally means music paper in Italian, but is an appetizer of provencale mussel salad, tuna tartare and house grown salad greens on crispy flatbread. Among the main courses will be Mushroom Bolognese, made with Mr. Falkowski’s mushrooms as well as homemade fettuccine, sofrito and Grana Padano parmesan cheese. While the menu will have basics like cheeseburgers and steaks, Mr. Carpenter said it will include items like Organic Quinoa Linguine, which meets the vegan standards of the East End Wellness Challenge.

Mr. Carpenter, who was raised in Carmel, New York, left home to enter the U.S. Navy after high school, where he was trained as a chef and was soon traveling the world over on board the U.S.S. Midway, the last of the fleet’s diesel powered aircraft carriers. “It offered a great opportunity to taste foods from so many different cultures,” Mr. Carpenter said of his navy days.

After leaving Savannah, Mr. Carpenter served  an eight-year stint at Della Femina and also brought his skills to the Living Room @ c/o the Maidstone, whose owners were from Stockholm and who wanted to focus solely on Swedish cuisine, an approach he did not want to take. He also worked for a couple of years at the American Hotel and most recently at Ben Krupinski’s Cittanuova, 1770 House and East Hampton Point.

At all his stops, he said he focuses on bringing as much locally grown food to the table as possible. “It’s always better if it’s grown 5 miles away,” he said.

Page at 63 Main is located at 63 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit page63main.com or call 725-1810. 

Thiele Introduces Legislation to Regulate Running Bamboo

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New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. has introduced legislation in the New York State Assembly that, if passed, would regulate “running bamboo.” The legislation is modeled after legislation enacted in Connecticut that took effect last October.

“Running bamboo,” and its complex root system, is an extremely fast growing plant which can spread horizontally beyond property lines and cause significant physical, biologic, and ecologic damage to abutting properties.

The legislation would require that anyone who plants running bamboo on his or her property would be required to keep it within his property lines, effective October 1. Any person who is found to be in violation would be liable for any damages caused to neighboring property by the bamboo.

The legislation will also limit where people can plant running bamboo within 100 feet of any abutting property or public right of way unless the planting is confined by a barrier system or above-ground container and does not come into contact with surrounding soil.

Violators of the law would be subject to penalties under the State Environmental Conservation Law.

The legislation also requires retail sellers or installers of running bamboo to provide customers who purchase the plant with a statement that discloses that running bamboo is a fast-growing plant that may spread if not properly contained and a plain language summary of the law.

The legislation would supersede all local legislation relating to “running bamboo.”

 

 

Immigration Reform Rally in Southampton on Sunday

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The East End Immigrant Advocates (EEIA), a local outreach and advocacy organization celebrating its first anniversary, is hosting a rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform on Sunday, December 8. Speakers at the rally will include Anita Halasz, Executive Director of L.I. Jobs with Justice, and Ana Martinez, an attorney, member of the Brentwood School board and community organizer. The rally will be held next Sunday, December 8 at 1:30 pm at Lola Prentiss Park, 151 Windmill Lane (opposite Waldbaum’s grocery), in Southampton Village. EEIA invites immigrants, neighbors, and friends to show support for this national cause and send a message to Speaker John Boehner to allow H.R. Bill 15 on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) to come up for a vote.

The Senate passed its CIR bill by a large majority in June. The bi-partisan bill was introduced by New York Senator Charles Schumer, along with Arizona Senator John McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham and other senators from both parties. The Senate and House CIR bills both include a path to citizenship for adults that would likely take as long as 13 years. Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, would be able to earn green cards in five years, as would some agricultural workers. The bills also call for increases in border security and an E-Verify system to prevent businesses from hiring unauthorized workers. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that CIR would reduce the deficit by as much as $900 million.

Speaker Boehner has declined to let the bill come to the floor for a vote.

“We are all immigrants,” says Sister Mary Beth Moore, of Sisters of Charity, and a founder of EEIA, one of the sponsors of the December 8 Southampton rally. “Seventy-one percent of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, an expanded visa program and legal status for immigrants. We want immigrants to know this and draw hope and faith from our rally.”

From Clara to the Snow Queen, a Ballerina Grows Up

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Rose Kelly as the Snow Queen in the 2012 performance of the Nutcracker.

Rose Kelly as the Snow Queen in the 2012 performance of the Nutcracker.

By Tessa Raebeck

The beautiful swan dances across the stage, slowly succumbing to a graceful death as the ballerina’s performance brings the audience to tears. When the curtain is called, the room whispers its wonder over where the Hampton Ballet Theatre School (HBTS) found such a talented professional. As she bows, the ballerina smiles; it appears this professional has braces.

Just 14 years old and in her freshman year of high school, Rose Kelly has been dancing with Sara Jo Strickland, affectionately called Miss Sara by her dancers at HBTS, since she was a toddler.

“I feel very special,” said Miss Sara, surrounded by young dancers in her Bridgehampton studio, “because I’ve developed her for years and to see it pay off…it’s happening.”

Before she could read or write, Rose could dance. As she grew, so did her dedication.

Throughout the years, Rose’s mother, Rachel Kelly, would ask her time and again, “Do you want to do ballet?”

“Of course I want to do ballet,” her daughter would respond. “Are you kidding me?”

When Miss Sara decided to open her own school, HBTS, in 2007, the Kelly’s followed her there.

“I’ve done it with her my whole life,” Rose says of Miss Sara. “So she is very special to me. A very special person and teacher and I feel like I have a connection with her.”

That connection was forged over the years through countless hours of studio time. Rose is in Miss Sara’s studio almost every day. She takes four ballet classes and one point class each week, in addition to rehearsal time for a spring show, “Peter and the Wolf” in the summer and “The Nutcracker” each holiday season.

When HBTS did its inaugural Nutcracker performance in 2009, Rose, about 10 at the time, was the school’s first Clara.

“That was fun for me to give her that role,” says Miss Sara, smiling at her pupil. “It’s a great memory,” adds Rose.

Next weekend, HBTS will present its fifth annual production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. It is the company’s biggest performance yet, with a cast of over 100 dancers. This year, Rose has advanced to play the Snow Queen, Marzipan and the Dew Drop Princess.

A younger Rose Kelly as Clara.

A younger Rose Kelly as Clara.

“I’m very excited,” said Miss Sara, “because I see all those years from two and a half up are now coming to fruition.”

Rose will dance the Dew Drop number with her longtime dance partner Vincenzo James Harty, who has also been dancing with Miss Sara since he was a toddler. Along with Rose and Harty, three other girls, Maggie Swan and twins Caitlin and Abigail Hubbell, form a group of veteran HBTS dancers Miss Sara considers the leaders of her school.

“When you watch them in class dancing together,” said Miss Sara. “It’s like they are the same people…they have the same style.”

Last year was the first time the group danced timed on point (on the very tips of their toes) and this year their technique has “jumped two levels,” their teacher said.

“Their training has brought them to a new level, so I’m just excited to see them step on stage with renewed confidence,” said Miss Sara, beaming with pride. “So not only do I have this great older group, all the younger kids are following them…they really set a great example.”

In preparation for “The Nutcracker,” Miss Sara’s group of leaders have attended rehearsals, which can last up to three hours, every Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday – in addition to the five classes they take each week.

One would think Rose, who is in the studio every day, would revel in her rare time off, but she misses ballet on the days she doesn’t dance.

“When we have a break and we don’t have ballet,” Rose said, “I feel kind of like there’s nothing to do.”

When asked what her favorite part of ballet is, she cannot pin down one answer.

Rose Kelly as the Swan in the Carnival of Animals last spring.

Rose Kelly as the Swan in the Carnival of Animals last spring.

“I love the music and I love the dances and just how you move to it,” she said, adding, “I just love everything about dance.”

That love has been evident since the beginning.

“There are certain kids that have personalities that kind of relate to ballet,” explained Miss Sara. “She just had that calmness and the regimen didn’t bother her. She could pay attention at a young age…She just took to it – the music, the training – it just came really naturally to her…She just loves it, as you can tell.”

The love of dance is fundamental to HBTS and Miss Sara’s teaching philosophy. Her signature style, which focuses on freely dancing from the heart rather than being bound by strict technique, is well represented in her pupils.

The HBTS style was epitomized by Rose’s performance as the swan in last year’s spring show, “Carnival of Animals.”

“Talk about…using her technique to create something beautiful,” said Miss Sara.

“Watching her grow up has been amazing.”

The Hampton Ballet Theatre School will present Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” on Friday, December 13 at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 14 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. Tickets can be reserved by calling 1-888-933-4287 or visiting hamptonballettheatreschool.com.