The Bossov Ballet Theatre performs its magic on the green lawn at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield on May 29. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

We’ve learned through this pandemic just how precious it is to be able to experience the performing arts.

This struck me most acutely last Saturday as I sat on the expansive green lawn at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, watching the Bossov Ballet Theatre perform its magic.

I do not use the word “magic” lightly, as that is exactly what the performance was. Ethereal, exquisite.

From the moment “Heartbeat” began, I was transfixed, not only by the dancers and their interpretation of the ballet, but also by the music, which included pieces by Frédéric Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach.

Created by Bossov’s artistic director, Natalya Getman, the ballet was narrated by recordings of the dancers reading poetry. The poetry is about life and death, joy and sorrow, beginnings and endings — topics you would not expect teenagers to understand unless they had experienced it themselves.

But it was clear that these young dancers from Pittsfield and other Maine towns, as well as those from all over the world, are wise beyond their years. They love music and dance, and have absorbed like sponges the art and skill that Getman has taught them in the rigorous program.

Consider Jane Weymouth of Pittsfield, for instance. The 14-year-old has been studying ballet with Getman since she was 5 and says she loves her choreographer and the art form so much that she thinks about it every second of every day.

“I would really like to carry on a career in ballet — my dream is to become a member of the Royal Ballet (of London),” Weymouth told me before Saturday’s performance.

The opening of “Heartbeat” featured MCI senior Christianna Weissbach performing beautifully as a dying swan, dancing to Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Le Cygne,” from “Le Carnival des Animaux.” Weissbach took the role for the afternoon performance; Weymouth, in the evening.

The Bossov Ballet Theatre performs its magic on the green lawn at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield on May 29. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

Weymouth performed in a part of the ballet titled “Creation,” dancing like an angel with Mateusz Lojewski and Taylor Pronovost, to the music of Chopin’s “Fantaisie Impromptu in C Minor, Opus 66.”

The quality of the ballet was top-notch. Watching the dancers and hearing the music and their recorded voices as they read poetry to accompany it was an experience that is difficult to explain in words.

There is nothing more important than this, I thought, as the young dancers performed with such heart and soul. They left the audience breathless.

As Getman and Theatre Program Manager Elizabeth Audet emphasized before the ballet started, it is so important they get to share their art with an audience, something they had not been able to do since 2019 because of the pandemic.

Most amazing to me is that a treasure such as the Bossov Ballet Theatre exists in such a rural state and town, and its quality is comparable to what one expects to see in places such as New York. Yet the ballet is here — accessible to all of us.

While Bossov performs sometimes at the Waterville Opera House, particularly during the holiday season when it presents “The Nutcracker,” it does not have its own performing arts center at MCI. Typically, the ballet performs in the gymnasium.

The Bossov Ballet Theatre prepares to take a bow following a performance on the green lawn at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield on May 29. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

As I sat in the front row prior to the performance Saturday, I and my seatmates discussed that.

We talked about how cities such as Waterville are fortunate to have venues where large audiences can experience the performing arts, which help to educate — and enrich — our lives.

Often, a philanthropic organization will recognize the value and need of performing arts centers and step up to either fund or offer matching funds for the creation of a new one.

Could that happen here?

To my thinking, if ever there were a deserving recipient, it is Bossov Ballet Theatre.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 33 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.


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