Bossov Ballet Theatre dancers and Maine Central Institute graduating seniors will be featured in the original ballet “I’m Still Here” May 28 and 29 in the Strider Theatre at Colby College in Waterville. From left are Hector Bligh, son of Adrian and Eleanor Bligh of East Amherst, Nova Scotia; and Taylor Pronovost, daughter of Debra and Eric Pronovost of Cumberland Foreside. Bossov Ballet Theatre

Andrew Carroll, a New York Times bestselling author and founding director of the Center for American War Letters, plans this month to provide a presentation at the Bossov Ballet Theatre of its original ballet, “I’m Still Here.”

The show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, May 28, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at the Strider Theatre at Colby College at 4520 Mayflower Hill Drive in Waterville.

Inspired by Carroll’s book, “War Letters,” BBT Director Natalya Getman’s original creation is an imaginative response to the last letter written by 21-year-old Lt. Tommie Kennedy to his parents, knowing that he was not going to live to see them again, according to a news release from Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield.

Kennedy had endured the Bataan Death March in the Pacific during World War II, and he was a prisoner of war for almost three years, living often on “hellships” with little food or water. The original letter was written on the back of a family photograph he had managed to conceal, and he gave the letter to a fellow POW before escaping to the ship’s deck and jumping overboard to end his misery. The letter was passed along a chain of friends until it eventually made it home. Carroll will show the original letter as part of his presentation on May 28.

According to Getman, the extraordinary journey Kennedy’s letter took illustrates not only the fragility of people’s connection with the past, but also the power of the individual story to bring it to life in the present. “When I read Tommie’s letter, I couldn’t stop hearing his ‘voice.’ I thought it was important to make it heard by others, especially by our younger generation,” said Getman.

At a time when the impact of war has come center stage for a new generation, Getman feels exploring it through the medium of dance helps her students connect with an experience that might otherwise remain abstract and remote.


BBT dancer Hector Bligh of East Amherst, Nova Scotia, recognizes this opportunity and responsibility. “I am from a generation that has been unscathed by the cruelties of war, but that means that this ballet is exceedingly important for me to portray accurately and respectfully, in the hopes of touching someone who may have experienced the feelings I’m aiming to portray,” said Bligh.

Carroll said, “I’m very excited about this performance, because I’ve seen these war letters used in books, films, and in readings, but never as an inspiration for a ballet. I think it demonstrates how evocative these letters are and how they resonate with so many people, even if they have no connection to the military. And if anyone who comes to the Saturday event has war letters or emails to share, we’re always looking.”

Ticket reservations can be made at The theater welcomes donations to help defray production costs. BBT will dedicate a portion of the proceeds to support the American Legion Department of Maine.

For more information about Bossov Ballet Theatre, visit