Maine State Ballet Presents Dancer's Choice

Maine State Ballet Presents Dancer's ChoiceMaine State Ballet celebrates its Company dancers with the annual production of Dancer's Choice, a program selected by the dancers themselves, on June 20th and 21st only, at Maine State Ballet's Lopez Theater.

The first half of the program includes a variety of ballet pieces chosen and performed by each Company dancer, highlighting each dancer's unique, individualized style and artistry. The second half of the program features the World Premiere of Stravinsky Concerto in D, a new neo-classical ballet choreographed by Artistic Director Linda MacArthur Miele.

This program is a must see for anyone interested in the creative process of ballet. After all, it's not often that Mainers get to experience a brand new ballet choreographed by someone who actually knew and worked with composer Igor Stravinsky! Miele, who at age 14 became the youngest person accepted by George Balanchine himself into the New York City Ballet Company, had the honor and the privilege of working with both Balanchine and Stravinsky.

Through their years of collaboration, Balanchine and Stravinsky constantly challenged each other to push the artistic envelope, producing a body of work that includes Agon, Apollo, Rubies, The Firebird, and Symphony in 3 Movements, to name but a few.
Miele says Company class was always run by Mr. Balanchine, and Mr. Stravinsky would often be in attendance during classes and rehearsals. She remembers the two men speaking Russian to each other in a corner of the room. While the dancers were worried that the two were critiquing their work or making changes to the piece they were rehearsing, it turns out they were often just discussing food and where they would eat lunch that day.

Miele says she chose Stravinsky Concerto in D for her newest original work because both she and the Company dancers needed something different to stretch their creative muscles, and Stravinsky is "definitely different" for a dancer. Stravinsky music is notoriously difficult to count, which makes it both physically and mentally challenging for the dancers, forcing them to use their bodies in ways they might not have done in other pieces.

"When we would dance a Stravinsky piece at New York City Ballet," says Miele, "it was never about the costumes or scenery. It was about the music. It was all leotards, tights, angles, and strange counts. It was very different, and difficult. It's a huge challenge, but one the Maine State Ballet Company is definitely ready for."

All proceeds from the Dancer's Choice Showcase & Fundraiser go to support the Maine State Ballet Dancers' Fund. The Fund was established several years ago as a way to enhance the dancers' experiences and life at Maine State Ballet by helping to offset the costs associated with dancing.

As anyone associated with the performing arts knows, ticket sales from productions don't cover all expenses. Events like the Dancer's Choice Showcase & Fundraiser help Maine State Ballet continue to improve their facility and reduce the financial burden of production and dancer's costs. In the past, funds have been used to upgrade the Company dressing room with additional lighting and mirrors. The Fund also helps dancers defer the cost of pointe shoes, which are a huge part of any ballet dancer's budget.

This year's goals for the Dancer's Choice Showcase & Fundraiser include funding for pointe shoes, additional lighting in the Lopez Theater, and costumes and scenery for the upcoming production of the new original ballet, Beauty and the Beast, scheduled to premiere in 2020.

Maine State Ballet's Dancer's Choice Showcase & Fundraiser runs two nights only, June 20th and 21st, at 7pm, at the Maine State Ballet Lopez Theater, 348 U.S. Route One, Falmouth. There will be a dessert reception immediately following the performance each night, where audience members will have a chance to mingle with the dancers, take photos and get autographs.

Tickets are priced at $15-$20 for reserved seating, with a $2 discount for seniors (62 & over) and children (12 & under). Order tickets online at www.mainestateballet.org or call Maine State Ballet at 207-781-7672 for more information.

Maine State Ballet, based in Falmouth, Maine, is one of New England's leading performing arts institutions and twice named Maine's Best Dance Group by Downeast Magazine. Its two components are the School for the Performing Arts, offering instruction in ballet, tap, jazz and other dance styles to more than 500 children and adults; and the Maine State Ballet Company, comprised of more than 25 professional dancers. Maine State Ballet is a nonprofit organization.

For more information about how you or your company can help support Maine State Ballet, contact Fundraising Coordinator Tina Hendricks at tinaLhendricks@gmail.com

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