by Emily Burnham
of The Weekly Staff
More than 40 years after it was founded, Bangor’s Robinson Ballet — founded in 1974 by Ralph Robinson and Jeanne-Marie Aubert — remains one of the stalwarts of the performing arts scene in eastern Maine.
Going into the company’s fifth decade, executive director Stevie McGary and co-artistic directors Keith and Maureen Robinson decided to celebrate those long-standing community ties with a photographic collaboration between the company, Bangor marketing group The Beta Agency and photographer Andrew Foster. The series, titled #DanceBangor, features photos of Robinson dancers stretching, leaping and posing in iconic locations around the city — from the Bangor Public Library to the deli counter at Giacomo’s.
“Even though we’ve been around for a long time, there are still people who don’t know us. So we thought, ‘How can we make a splash?’” said McGary. “We love being in Bangor, so these photos really showcase who we are and how we’re a part of the community. And all the businesses we worked with were really excited to be a part of it.”
The first images are out just in time to coincide with Robinson Ballet’s annual spring showcase, which this year is titled “Romance and Fire” and is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 12, at the Brewer Performing Arts Center at the Brewer Community School. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors.
“Romance and Fire” is so-named because of the fiery images and romantic stories conjured up by the four original pieces choreographed for the show — from McGary’s work “The City,” inspired by the Scottish poet Robert Montgomery’s “Fire Poems,” in which the poet literally sets effigies of his words on fire, to Keith Robinson’s piece “Odin’s Raven,” inspired by the Norse myth of the two ravens who see for the god Odin. Terry Lacy’s piece, “Papillon,” features dancers pulling themselves up and down with aerial silks to add another dimension to the performance. Lacy owns Om Land Yoga in Brewer, Orono and Bangor, which offers aerial yoga as one of its many courses.
Keith Robinson also choreographed the centerpiece for the showcase, a ballet retelling of the Greek tragedy “Medea.”
“We did a version of ‘Medea’ in 2005 and we wanted to bring it back. It’s got a story… it’s about her, her love for Jason, his betrayal and her vengeance,” said Maureen Robinson. “It’s got lots of both romance and fire.”
This is the second year Robinson Ballet has held its spring showcase at the Brewer Performing Arts Center at the Brewer Community School, located at 92 Pendleton St., which has for the past two years offered a variety of arts programming, in addition to regular school-year activities and performances by Brewer students. Maureen Robinson said the 440-seat facility is an ideal space for groups such as hers to perform.
“It’s a great space that feels very intimate, despite its size,” said Robinson.
For information on Robinson Ballet, visit robinsonballet.org.