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Greenville dancers prepare for Nutcracker as holiday season approaches

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GREENVILLE — It’s getting to be that special time of year and the Robinson Ballet Company of Bangor is including three Greenville girls in its Christmas performances. Robinson Ballet is a beloved, and as noted on its website, “premier performance company and dance school that offers education for people of all ages, abilities and aspirations and engages the community through dance.”

This company has been gifting Maine with performances of the Nutcracker for many, many seasons and this year, starting Nov. 17, three of Greenville’s own plus their teacher, Stephanie Salmi, will be performing the classic to the delight of old and young. Greenville School for the Arts, situated on the Greenville Rec Center at Leisure Life Resort, is on the road!

The students were gracious enough to sit for a few minutes and talk about what dance and the little school means to means them. Michaela Drew, 16, has been dancing for eight years – seven under the tutelage of Salmi. Drew who will be Coffee from Arabia plus a Rat in the production is looking forward to rehearsing and getting ready.

Greenville School for the Arts Nutcracker

Observer photo/Shelagh Talbot
READY TO DANCE — Greenville School for the Arts students wait for a cue from their instructor Stephanie Salmi.

“I am excited,” Drew said. “One of the things I really like about this is that I can express my emotions through ballet and other forms of dance. I also enjoy jazz and lyrical contemporary.” Drew will be going on the road with the show, visiting Caribou, Machias and Bar Harbor. Salmi will be joining her, dancing the pivotal role of the Sugarplum Fairy.

Shavonne Lupion is also looking forward to her part. “I’m going to be a reindeer,” she grinned. She’s been dancing for three years now. “My mom and grandmom were ballet dancers too,” she explained. “Miss Stephanie encouraged me to try it. What I love is working on the technique of it. It can help you,” she continued. “Let’s say … if you’re having a tough time it can help you escape a little and feel good about yourself. It works for me and Miss Stephanie is a great teacher. I love it.”

Eight-year old Reese Brown enthused: “I auditioned and I think I got the part of a baby reindeer, I really hope so! I’ve been dancing for two years with Miss Stephanie. She’s a really good dance teacher,” she grinned shyly. “I like that ballet helps me be flexible and although I didn’t know very much about ballet at first, I think it’s such fun that I want to keep doing it.”

Salmi has been teaching in Greenville for some time, but it’s only been in the last few years that she has had a studio for lessons. She is passionate about her work. “I volunteer for this, and I love it,” she stated. “Even though we’re small in numbers, the reward in the outcome is too large for me to ignore and I could not NOT do this.”

Thanks to fundraising activities, Greenville School for the Arts has installed special flooring in its section of Greenville Rec Center that is safe for dance and allows the dancers to advance technically. In addition, there are large mirrors that were donated and two easily portable Barres.

Greenville School for the Arts is still, in Salmi’s words, a young business. “We have secured our 501(c)(3) status,” she said. “We started in three years ago here at Leisure Life Resort, in the Greenville Rec Center. John Pepin, our acting president and administrator, has helped us with that, and is currently looking for someone to help him start a webpage.”

She expressed gratitude for any donations – dance clothing, shoes, and funding. “I know what it means,” Salmi said. “When you give of yourself selflessly the reward is always tenfold. So I’d do this no matter what – even if it’s only one student!” Her passion and love for dance is evident as she guides her students through their lessons.

The school has a Facebook presence (Greenville School for the Arts) so you can check out what’s going on. Also reach out to them at greenvillearts@myottmail.com. For additional information regarding the Nutcracker schedule, visit the Robinson Ballet on their website at www.RobinsonBallet.org. Tickets for the performance of Robinson Ballet’s Nutcracker with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, which will be happening at the Collins Center, can be reached through https://www.collinscenterforthearts.com/event/the-nutcracker-2/. Begin your Christmas Season with a tradition that continues to delight year after year – the Robinson Ballet’s Nutcracker!

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