Dance and Design on Munjoy Hill - 5/13

Save the date! - Another great event coming up in May. On May 13th from 5pm - 7pm Portland Ballet will be at Urban Dwellings on Munjoy Hill. This will be an informal gathering / mixer for people to come and meet some of our dancers and get introduced to the wonderful interior design work from Tracy Davis. There will be light snacks, beverages and plenty of interesting people! We are expecting a crowd so please RSVP before May 8th if you are interested in stopping by!

A note from Nell Shipman, Artistic Director, about The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace

Photo: Nathan Eldridge Dancers: James Kramlich & Erica Diesl

Photo: Nathan Eldridge Dancers: James Kramlich & Erica Diesl

Portland Ballet, in collaboration with The Telling Room ( will open its final show of the season, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, on May 20th and 21st at John Ford Theater. Below is a description of the piece by its choreographer and Portland Ballet's Artistic Director, Nell Shipman. 

I was commissioned to create this piece in 2013.  In the beginning of the process I was given only the music and with that I made a story surrounding a Soldier and his internal struggle of preparing to enter conflict, going into battle, losing his life and facing the unknown of the afterlife.  The work centers around the Soldier in Life and the Soldier in Death, performed by two different men, with an ensemble of 14 women who personify his internal struggle.  Within the group of women, three of them represent Life, Death and the Soldier's Conscience. 

After almost completing the creation of the work and right before I headed into the studio to set it on the dancers, the decision had been made to incorporate people speaking about their personal experience of surviving through conflict before the piece began.  I thought the concept was powerful, but I felt I needed to incorporate them more into the fabric of the piece as opposed to having them as almost a preface to the ballet.  I ultimately decided that the piece would open in darkness and a single pool of light would fall on one of the speakers as they told their story, as their light faded the next pool of light would fall on the next speaker and this happened for all five of the stories.  In the final movement of the piece the stage falls to black again and the first pool of light falls on an empty spot and before it fades the dancer representing Death walks through it, it fades and as the next pool falls on the stage Death passes through it as well...and this continues through all five spots.  After the final pool fades out, the stage falls to darkness and we listen to the final lines of music.  In the last chord sung all five pools of light fall and the speakers are in them again with dancers by their side, the dancer representing Life is lifted above them all and the dancers all raise one hand reaching toward the light.  

When I sat in the house of the theater and saw these moments come together I realized that these stories had shaped this work into a message of everyone's fight against conflict.  Whether you are a soldier conscientiously entering into a fight you have trained for, or you a child fighting to be a child, or you are fighting to leave, or fighting to stay...when we learn these struggles and hear how they shaped a person's life, they reshape our community and our sense of responsibility in the role we play in each others lives.


Upcoming dates and events for Portland School of Ballet:

There is a lot of information listed here below. For PSB students and parents who need further information on anything posted below, please contact us directly at 207-772-9671 or speak to your child's instructor.


March 21-26: All Young Dancer Program, Syllabus, and CORPS and Drop-In students are encouraged to bring a boy to ballet to either watch or participate. Dance-wear is not necessary, just clothing they are comfortable moving in.

EXAM WEEK: (Please come in your uniform, with a neat bun, and clean tights.)

Monday March 28: S2: 4-5pm, S4: 5-6:30pm

Tuesday March 29: CORPS: 1:30-3, S1: 5:30-6:30

Wednesday March 30: S6: 3:30-5pm, S3: 5-6:15, S5: 6:15-7:30

Alice Performance @PBST:

Friday April 1st @ 6:30pm

Saturday April 2nd @ 2pm

Presented by Junior & Senior Repertory classes and CORPS.

CORPS AUDITION: Sunday, April 3rd

Registration: 11am

Audition: 12-1pm

PARENT OBSERVATION WEEK- APRIL 4-9 FOR SYLLABUS AND CORPS. We encourage parents to come see what your students have been working on.

APRIL VACATION WEEK: April 18-23 (No Classes)


Thursday April 28th Dress Rehearsal

Dancer Call to Theater: 4pm

Blocking: 4:30-6pm

Dress Rehearsal: 6:30pm-8pm

Friday April 29th Show at Westbrook Performing Arts Center

Dancer Call to Theater: 8:30am

Warm-up: 8:45-9:30am

Prepare for show 9:30-10am

School Performance 10am

Saturday April 30th Show

Dancer Call to Theater: 9:30am

Warm-up: 9:45-10:30am

Prepare for show 10:30-11am

Public Performance 11am

MEMORIAL DAY: April 30th (No Classes)

May Day Festival – Saturday May 7th, 2016 (Performance for S4 students)

YEAR END PERFORMANCE: June 11th @11am at John Ford Theater

Saturday Rehearsal June 4th 11:30-1pm

Dress Rehearsal on June 10th at 3:30pm



CORPS and Company Alumni, come to any of our Drop-In classes for FREE!

June 6-10 August 15-20.



Young Dancer Program - Spring Session 2016

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Portland School of Ballet will begin their Spring Session of the Young Dancer Program on March 14th. The program is designed to introduce young boys and girls, ages 3-9 yrs old to the fundamentals of classical ballet and movement. Our experienced faculty provide a creative and disciplined learning environment where young students can grow in a safe, healthy, and fun atmosphere. For more information or to register, please contact us by phone at 207-772-9671 or register online at

Summer Intensive - July 11th - 29th, 2016

Portland School of Ballet's Summer Intensive will run from July 11th - 29th, 2016. This is a great opportunity for young dancers to refine their skills in this intensive 2 or 3 week program taught by faculty of Portland Ballet and Portland School of Ballet. For more details or to register, please contact us by phone at 207-772-9671 or register online at

Adult Beginner Ballet - 6 week session starts on March 2nd!

If you have never taken ballet, but have always been interested, come and join us for this 6 week course. We will go over the basics and fundamentals of classical ballet. This is a great opportunity for those who have wanted to take an adult drop-in class but just didn't know where to begin. Register by phone (207-772-9671) or online at

Starting This Week- Two Great Programs!

Our Young Dancer Program --Fall Short Session begins next week! Will you be dancing with us? We hope so! For more class info please visit our school page at:

Have you ever been interested in taking a ballet class but weren't sure how or where to start? Portland School of Ballet is offering a 6-week Adult Beginner Session starting on Wednesday 11/4 from 6-7:30PM with Kaitlyn Hayes. This six week session will serve as a introductory course and participants will be able to take any of our drop in classes once completed! For more information please call us at : 207-772-9671.