Circle of Life East Hartford

Arts for All


About Circle of Life, Arts for All in East Hartford


We have been serving our community from our home base in the East Hartford Community Cultural Center since 2002.  Here are just a few interesting facts and highlights of the recent activities of Circle of Life: Arts for All:


What is “COLAFA”?  We are a non-profit organization in East Hartford dedicated to improving our community through the arts.  Our primary focus is on dance as a form of outreach.  We use lessons, dance teams and social activities as a way to link together all people regardless of their age, economic status or ethnic background.  Dance is a language we all understand!


Inter-District Teen Ballroom Dance Club  Middle and high school students from the towns of East Hartford, New Britain, Simsbury and Glastonbury learn discipline, commitment, respect and teamwork through the framework of formal ballroom dance study.  This structured, supervised environment gives youth and teens from diverse backgrounds a productive way to come together, working toward common goals.  The program is free to the students.

Affordable Fun for All  Senior citizens join us at the studio on Friday afternoons for dance lessons and a party.  For a token cost of only $2, more than 40 active adults ages 55 to over 80 have fun, remain fit, and maintain social contact.  Lessons are given by professional dance instructors and refreshments are provided by COLAFA.

Collaboration in Our Community  In keeping with our commitment to improve and enhance the community of East Hartford, COLAFA actively participates with other organizations dedicated to addressing the needs of vulnerable at-risk citizens.  We work to support the mission of groups such as Child Plan, East Hartford’s Local Prevention Council, Youth Services, Parks & Recreation Department and School Business Partners.

Reggie and Herb

Reggie & Herbert Barrall

Regina Barall, Executive Director of Circle of Life – Arts for All, Inc.

Circle of Life is the idea and project of one woman: Reggie Barall.  If you ask Reggie, she will look you straight in the eye and tell you “I had no choice.  It is my destiny.  I wanted to give back to the community.  I wanted to create a safe haven for children of all ethnic backgrounds.  I wanted to include special needs children because I have a special needs son…

I would have been lost without a safe place to discover what I could become in life.  I wanted to pass on to the new generation what I have learned over the years.  The arts transformed a very shy girl into an outgoing woman who enjoys life and looks forward to what life has to offer each day.  We never stop growing if you have a positive attitude and embrace the beauty and opportunities around you.

Reggie was born in the depression years.  There were six children.  Four were born in Canada and Reggie and her brother Arthur were born on Bond Street in the South End of Hartford, Connecticut.  At age 10, the family decided to move to Lawrence Street in Hartford, known as Frog Hollow, to be near her married sister who was expecting a child.  Reggie was devastated.  She had to leave her school, her friends and her security blanket.  She now attended the progressive Burns School, but missed her friends and life at her old school.

Fortunately, her new best friend, Gloria, realized how shy and frightened she was.  Gloria took Reggie to The Michelle House on Park Street.  Slowly Reggie began to discover the Arts.  She discovered music and dance.  She joined a singing group, began writing articles for the school newspaper, wanted to learn how to dance and discovered she liked to act and perform.

In 1965, after raising a family, she began her long exploration of finding her self-identity.  She began her life long pursuit of education.  Reggie received a Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude and Master of Arts in literature, Writing Communication and Drama at the University of Hartford.  She is a member of Alpha Thi Honorary Society. Reggie holds Connecticut State Certification to teach in grades 9-12.  In 1975, she was adjunct professor of Writing and was instrumental in developing the Learning Lab for minority students at the University of Hartford.  She worked successfully with a large diversity of students because she understood what it meant to be poor.

Reggie found her niche developing programs for the town of East Hartford after being appointed to the Fine Arts Commission in 1976.  Her next career challenge was to become Major Gifts Director for the Salvation Army for Connecticut and Rhode Island.  This program, created and run by Reggie, helped the Salvation Army to continue running other programs important to the community and kept many of their shelters open and in operation.

Upon retiring in the summer of 2002, she decided to put into action everything she had learned.  The Producing Guild, a well known drama company, was vacating its space in the East Hartford Community Cultural Center.  No time was wasted in Reggie exploring the possibility of forming a non-profit dance and art center.  The mayor of East Hartford gave her the go ahead.  Family and friends helped to empty the space and build the studio, and Circle of Life opened for its first class in September of 2002.  The rest is history.

Each year programs are added and molded to meet the needs of those Reggie serves.

Judge Herbert Barall,  Treasurer of Circle of Life – Arts for All, Inc.

Helping Reggie in her dream and mission is her husband, Judge Herbert Barall.

Judge Barall is a Superior Court Judge Trial Referee.  He has served as Chief Administrative Judge for Juvenile Court for the State of Connecticut.  He was presiding Judge of Major Criminal Matters in Hartford, presiding Judge for the Civil Division in Hartford, and presiding Judge of the family court in Hartford.

Judge Barall holds a Doctor of Laws Cum Laude from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Science from New York University.  Herb was a member of Tau Alpha Omega Honorary Fraternity.  Herb attended East Hartford High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society and the East Hartford Basketball Team.


Board of Directors

  • Ms. Regina Barall, East Hartford, CT
  • Honorable Herbert Barall, East Hartford CT
  • Ms. Sue Chatfield, Hartford, CT
  • Justin Barall, East Hampton, CT
  • Ted Fravel, Newington, CT
  • Attorney Emily Moskowitz, West Hartford, CT
  • Cephus Nolen, Jr.
  • Ms. Ann Quinn, Glastonbury, CT
  • Ms. Gerry Rozie, East Hartford, CT
  • Attorney Robert Kor