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By Bob Keyes
Photograph by C.C. Church
The Portland Press Herald
March 20, 2011


FALMOUTH — Two things that sometimes don’t mix: teenage boys and ballet.

It’s time to throw that stereotype out the window. Teenage boys have starring roles in the Maine State Ballet production of Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty.”

Maine State Ballet will present the classical dance piece in three acts, with a running time of just over two hours, over three weekends through April 10 at its theater in Falmouth.

It’s a huge undertaking and could not be done well without a solid male presence, said artistic director Linda Mac- Arthur Miele. “To have four talented, dependable young men who just happen to be the same size and shape is a gift. They may be young, but they are extremely smart, extremely confident, and they work extremely hard,” she said in a statement. “They all know what they have to do, and they do it. This ballet rests on their shoulders, literally.”

“Sleeping Beauty” tells the story of Princess Aurora, who is cursed by an evil fairy to die on her 16th birthday. The Lilac Fairy cannot undo the evil fairy’s spell, but she is able to change it. Instead of dying, Princess Aurora falls asleep for 100 years and is awakened by a kiss.

The ballet demands a strong and deep cast. Maine State Ballet’s production has a cast of 60, with some dancers performing multiple roles. The young men are pulling triple-duty. Each is a Cavalier in the famous Rose Adagio, a hunter and a fairy-tale character in the Act Three Wedding.

Maiki Saito of Scarborough is the youngest at 14. He started dancing at age 7, and has been featured in many Maine State Ballet productions, including Fritz in “The Nutcracker.”

Boomer Druchniak, 16, of Standish filled in as a party boy in “The Nutcracker” for two years before formally studying ballet. He has been dancing three years.

Company member Nathaniel Dombek, 16, of Gorham has been dancing for six years.

Company member Michael Holden, 16, of Falmouth is the veteran of the group. He has been dancing at Maine State Ballet since age 3, when he made his debut as a reindeer in “The Nutcracker.” Since then, he has played numerous parts, including the mischievous Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“My parents enrolled me at Maine State Ballet as a birthday present,” said Holden, who described dancing as a “very personal and individual, if you make it that way. It’s fun, because you get to play around with the music. It’s just fun. I’ve been dancing since I could walk, which is why my parents signed me up.”

Dombek’s entree into dance came through his interest in theater. “A few of my friends at school were dancers here at Maine State, and they kind of introduced me to it,” he said. “My whole family has danced, so it’s in the family. I liked it a lot from the beginning. I love performing, and dancing keeps me fit. So I can perform and stay healthy at the same time.”

Principal dancer Glenn Davis, who has been a dancer and a teacher at Maine State Ballet for 20 years, said he was pleased to see the young men he has mentored grow into mature roles. “These young men now have the strength and experience to take on more partnering and solo roles, which is exactly what ‘Sleeping Beauty’ requires,” he said in a statement. “To be able to do this show at this time is a testament to the depth and maturity of our company.”


Copyright ©2011 MaineToday Media, Inc.

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