The Maine Dance Academy’s production is pure panache

12 years ago
Molly Adams of Caribou performs a Celtic tap routine during the 18th annual recital of The Maine Dance Academy.

By Barbara Scott
Staff Writer

Under the direction of dance instructors Colleen DuPlissie, Clarann Flynn, Danielle Atcheson-Peterson, Jessica Wishart and guest instructor, Casey Hill, once again on May 1 -13, the 375 highly gifted members of The Maine Dance Academy presented what can only be described as a heart-and-soul captivating performances.

Anyone who did not attend at least one of the three sold out 18th annual MDA recital performances, it is difficult to explain the energy created by the dancers who range in age from 3 to 18, as they transformed the stage and themselves from one costume and dance style to another in seemingly impossible constant and rapid flow.

Whether it was the appearance of the little ones, who although captivated by their shiny tap shoes and the bright stage lights, were each focused on their routines and their instructor or the older ladies, graceful and talented, their confidence and panache in each movement as sure as professionals’, the entire recital couldn’t help but move anyone with a penchant for music and dance in any form.

The opening performances of a “Modern Day Medley” consisted of hip-hop, lyrical and contemporary dances, followed by MDA Troupe Dancers performing the ever-popular Celtic dance that included Highland soft shoe and Celtic tap. It was during this segment of the show that dance instructor Flynn performed an impromptu Highland dance accompanied by Kjetil Rossignol on the accordion.

Also during the first half of the weekend recital, audience members were entertained once again when the Celtic dance ended with a very amusing Celtic tap dance by the Company Dancers, performing to “The Pee Dance,” which according to DuPlissie is thought to be the origins of Celtic tap.

The second half of the recital was the presentation of “The Addams Family,” featuring 11 graduating senior dancers Katie Keaton, Sarae Sager, Annie Collins, Kelly Kashian, Julia Weatherhead, Sarah Plourde and Elsa Thibodeau, all of Caribou; Paige Doyen, Kelsey Buck and Hanna Patterson of Presque Isle and Melissa Mckenney of Fort Fairfield.

“The Addams Family” was our most difficult show to produce as of yet,” said DuPlissie,” because of the elevated and rotating stage. Our set was built by Saucier Carpentry and the backdrops were painted by local artist Andrea Peterson. It took hours and hours of extra dance time to learn how to move the stage into different scenes and yet keep the dancers dancing.”

“Each of our 11 seniors deserve an Emmy and a Tony for their combined efforts in dancing, singing and acting,” she added.

In the final part of “The Addams Family,” 11 dads joined their graduating daughters on stage in a very moving final dance number.

DuPlissie said that this was the first year for The Maine Dance Academy to offer a gymnastics program, which was taught by Atcheson-Peterson. There will be a summer gymnastic program offered from June 19 through August 14 and the fall gymnastics classes will begin in September.

There will be a summer dance camp for 3-14 year-olds from July 17-20. Sign-up information is online at Fall registration will be held Aug. 22 at the New Sweden Street studio.