PITTSFIELD — For 14-year-old ballet dancer Jane Weymouth, being able to perform for a live audience Saturday for the first time since 2019 was like being a bird let out of a cage.

“It’s kind of exhilarating,” Weymouth said. “It’s been a while, so obviously I’m kind of nervous, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Weymouth, of Pittsfield, was about to share the outdoor stage at Maine Central Institute with about 20 other members of the Bossov Ballet Theatre to perform “Heartbeat,” a ballet created and choreographed by Bossov’s artistic director, Natalya Getman. Weymouth has been with the ballet since she was 5.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the dancers had been unable to perform, but Saturday’s comeback allowed the students in grades 8-12 to share all the hard work they have put into the ballet since February.

The ballet, in six parts, included poetry, written and spoken by the students on recordings that accompanied the performance. Getman’s ballet is about the rhythms of life, of beginnings and endings, of life and death. It suggests that while the pursuit of happiness can be interrupted, we learn to become receptive to moments of unexpected joy and learning along the way.

“Even when we die, we aren’t dead because we live in the hearts of others,” Weymouth explained before the performance.

She and the other dancers performed exquisitely before about 100 friends, family members and faculty on the Boutelle Savage Lawn at MCI under overcast skies that turned sunny, midway though the performance. They received a standing ovation.

“I loved it,” said Gerry Wright, a Winslow resident who sat in the front row.

Wright, who taught piano and chorus at MCI for 13 years, said Getman has impeccable taste in music, and always chooses wonderful pieces for the ballet.

Natalya Getman, artistic director for Bossov Ballet Theatre, created the ballet “Heartbeat,” which was performed Saturday on an outdoor stage at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“I love Natalya — she’s a genius,” Wright said. “Her interpretation skills are very high. She’s not afraid to do something different as opposed to the old, traditional ballet, which is beautiful in itself.”

Christopher McDonald, MCI’s head of school, acknowledged that, though young, the students understand the concept of metaphorical death that they interpreted through dance in the ballet. They basically suffered the personal loss — the erasure — of a year of school because of the pandemic.

“It’s something I think you can’t quantify, suffering, and I think they’ve suffered through this pandemic,” he said.

He noted that on July 1, Bossov starts its summer camp with 52 dancers from all over the country and world who will perform for the public the first week in August.

Getman told the audience members before the performance that her students were “beyond excited” to perform for them — that ballet must be shared with an audience.

“If you don’t, you consider yourself to be dead,” she said.

The students, she said, had prepared for a long time and were not just putting their bodies before the audience — they were sharing their souls. She invited them to connect with the dancers, to “create that invisible thread.”

The performance will be repeated at 7 p.m. Sunday, with Weymouth dancing in the role of the dying swan, a dance that opened the 3 p.m. show Saturday with Christianna Weissbach in that role.

Bossov is both a performing company and an international preprofessional ballet school that offers students a unique opportunity to study and perform classical ballet as part of the academic curriculum and allows them to earn full academic credit for ballet training.

Bossov Theatre manager Elizabeth Audet said the students really needed to perform and the school needed to organize the opportunity for them.

Dancers Annabel Street, 17, a senior from Raymond, and Hector Bligh, 17, a junior from Nova Scotia, said they were excited to be able to finally share their art with an audience.

Weymouth, who will enter ninth grade at MCI in the fall, described studying and performing ballet as “like a breath of fresh air.

“It’s just the thing that I look forward to every, single day,” she said. “It’s constantly on my mind — it’s the thing I think about every second of the day.”

Getman, she said, is an inspiration.

“She’s amazing,” she said. “I love her so much. She’s such a great choreographer.”

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