FALMOUTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine State Ballet has been teaching dance since the early 1900's. Back then the school was called the Dorothy Mason School of Dance.
Linda McArthur Miele left her ballet career at New York City Ballet to move to Maine with her husband. They took over the school in 1974 and began to transform it from a primarily tap school, that churned out at least four Rockettes, to focus more on classical ballet.
"When we moved here, I was homesick for classical ballet," Meile says.
Dancers come from all over southern and central Maine to take classes, some traveling long distances everyday to practice and perform.
Veronica Druchniak says her mother enrolled her in dance classes after she noticed her then 3-yrea-old walking on her toes.
"I was hooked," Veronica says.
Veronica is from Standish. She is studying math at University of Maine and juggling teaching dance classes, and being a member of the Maine State Ballet Company.
She is sharing the starring role in Swan Lake with fellow dancer, Rhiannon Pelletier for a record 12 performances that runs til April 9 at the Lopez Theater in Falmouth. Veronica and Rhiannon have put in well over 100 hours of rehearsal time in the last two months preparing for the role.
Miele says performances come to life with more than 40 dancers all trained in Maine and just as many volunteers who sew costumes from scratch (right here in Maine), painting backdrops and creating sets (also done in Maine), and helping with the box office, concessions, and parking.
Miele says she would like to see the Maine State Ballet grow to the point where they can take performances to smaller communities in Maine.
Dancers like Rhiannon say they would like to see Maine State Ballet be able to have fulltime dancers on staff, so that her and others do not have to work other jobs to be able to fuel their passion.
Miele says the ballet is for all ages and specifically families. Maine State Ballet chooses their performances based on being available for families and Miele says is happy to offer tickets at a reasonable price. She says the ballet and arts in general should not just be for those who can afford $100 seats.