“Tonight would have been our opening night so we wanted to visit the theater to be there with each other, reminisce about years past as well as talk about the unique bonding experience of making the movie and of course dance around a little,” said Janet Davis, Artistic Assistant, for Maine State Ballot, this afternoon at city hall.
For forty-three years, the Maine State Ballet, has performed the holiday tradition The Nutcracker at Merrill Auditorium. The Nutcracker is the tradition that introduces the holiday season to generations of children and their families every year. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 44th performance was cancelled and those children will miss out on a magical dance and musical experience – or almost miss out.
For Arie Eiten, this season would have been his third year dancing The Nutcracker role. For Elizabeth Chadbourne, it would have been her first year as Clara on the stage of Merrill Auditorium. “It’s nice to work with Elizabeth. Others have had very different and unique perspectives in that role,” said Arie. “Elizabeth is a very talented actress as well as dancer.” Quick to respond, Elizabeth said: “I’d rather dance then act. Dancing is a stress reliever for me. It’s a hobby for me. It helps me to get out of the school mindset. It’s a very low stress environment at Maine State Ballet.”
“We are all in this together. If you have any issues or problems, let us know I’ve been taught,” said Arie. “There are aspects that are individual. But we all work on shows together.”
The Maine State Ballet, Falmouth, has a long and interesting history. It started around 1920 making it 100 years old this year. It began under the name of Janette Emerson School of Dance. In 1976, Jonathan and Linda (MacArthur) Miele purchased the school following his performances on Broadway (New York City Ballet for Linda). Eventually, in 2004, the Maine State Ballet Co. came into existence.
“Although we are unable to have live performances at Merrill Auditorium this year, it is very important to us to bring the magic of The Nutcracker to our audiences in 2020,” said Davis. “Maine State Ballot is proud to present a short film The Nutcracker: Behind the Mask. You may watch a complimentary video performance on-demand starting today – Friday November 27 – Saturday December 12th. Please visit MaineStateBallot.org or see it on facebook and twitter.
“We will do the 44th performance. But we just don’t know when or how,” said Arie Eiten, to a cheering group of fellow performers.
Happy Anniversary, Maine State Ballet!