It took Goran Subotic decades to make his dream of a performance theater a reality. With the September opening of Mystic Stage in the Olde Mistick Village Subotic finally has a place to call his own, and can maybe stop searching for the place he belongs.
“Look, look at this,” Subotic says pointing to an old yellowed copy of The Day from 1992. In the article a Day reporter quoted him as saying “I want to belong to this place.”
During the opening night gala at Mystic Stage, Subotic said Susette Tibus leaned over at one point and said 'Goran you belong here now.'
For more than 20 years Subotic has been searching for that sense of belonging. The former general manager of an economic office in Belgrade, Serbia, Subotic moved to the U.S. with his American wife Desiree shortly before the war broke out.
“I was the black sheep,” Subotic said. “I left the country, I married a foreigner.”
The two ended up in Arizona where Desiree was from, but Subotic wanted to be closer to Europe and felt Phoenix was too big to ever have a sense of familiarity, so the two packed up and began searching for a place to call home.
“We were zigzagging to find a place,” Subotic said.
When they got to the East Coast, Desiree wanted to stop in the village that inspired the movie Mystic Pizza.
“It was a very cute town, with the church on top of the hill,” Subotic said. And yet the two were still not ready to commit to the place.
They drove to Newport and then up to Maine before deciding to make their way back to Mystic and settle into the town.
Desiree, Subotic said was the catalyst for them opening up a dance school. At first the school was located on Holmes Street in Mystic before they built the Dance Palace on Mistuxet Avenue in Mystic. That space allowed them to begin a pre-professional and a professional residency program where dancers from around the world come.
For years, though, they lacked a place to perform. The Mystic Ballet Company frequently performed at Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center where they will present Connecticut's Mystical Nutcracker this December, and other local and even international venues but they didn’t have a place to call home.
In September, Subotic with the help of Joyce Olson Resnikoff, the owner of the Olde Mistick Village and Bill Dougherty the owner of the Olde Mistick Village Art Cinemas opened up Mystic Stage. The more than 1,000 square-foot stage seats 185 and accommodate contemporary dance, classical ballet and theater performances.
It’s a place that Subotic finally feels he belongs.