Sunday, April 20, 2014

Local dancers featured in Portland School of Ballet production - By Elizabeth Richards

Two area residents will help bring a story based on the popular children’s book character Flat Stanley to life on stage in the Portland School of Ballet’s (PSB) production of Around the World with Flat Stanley – The Case of the Red Shoes. Maggie McGovern, a high school junior from Windham, will play the Prima Ballerina and Raymond resident James Kramlich will perform as the Postmaster.
The production is part of PSB’s Kids 4 Kids Arts in Education initiative. The show takes the audience on a tour of the globe with Google Earth projected onto the stage as the backdrop to the dancers’ story.
In the ballet, Stanley must follow clues around the world to help solve the mystery of who stole a famous ballerina’s red toe shoes. The audience is asked to participate in the production, offering assistance in decoding the clues that lead Stanley to Ireland, Africa, Brazil, Hungary, Greece, China, Russia and home. 

McGovern began dancing at the age of three. “It was the classic “mom, I want to be a ballerina” and I’ve stuck with it ever since because I love it,” she said. McGovern is in the intensive CORPS pre-professional program at PSB. She spends 15 to 18 hours per week in dance class. McGovern has completed summer intensives at Boston Ballet and Interlochen Summer Arts, and performed in PSB productions of the Victorian Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, La Bayadere and Swan Lake.
Playing the Prima Ballerina is McGovern’s first leading role in a dance production, which she said is very exciting. Though she doesn’t find the role too challenging, she said it’s a great show that the kids really enjoy. 

In addition to dancing, McGovern is a vocalist and actress. She spent two years in the Windham Chamber Singers before dance required so much of her time, and has performed in local theater productions. She is also a violinist, performing with the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra and in the school orchestra. McGovern is currently exploring colleges and plans on pursuing a career in musical theatre performance, she said.

Kramlich, 28, did not begin studying dance until about six years ago. As an actor in musical theater productions, he said he decided that if he was going to continue, he needed to have some dance training.
After taking classes elsewhere, he found PSB four years ago. He began dancing with Portland Ballet Company (PBC) as a guest character artist, and then became an apprentice. Currently a Senior Apprentice, Kramlich will become a regular company dancer for the next season, which begins in August.

Kramlich toured to Canada with PBC’s Giselle. He has also appeared as a soldier in the debut of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, and has danced in PBC’s Halloween Spooktacular, Victorian Nutcracker and Boy Meets Girl. This is his second year playing the role of the Postmaster in the Flat Stanley production.

Both McGovern and Kramlich said the show is a lot of fun to participate in. “It’s fun to get the kids in the audience to laugh and join along,” said Kramlich. And with a live performance, every show is different, he added.

“The children react much more strongly to things, which is great, said McGovern. It feels very good to be a part of it. It makes me feel like a real contributor to the community. It feels really good to make all those kids happy, and it should be a great show.”

PBS will perform for a school audience on the morning of Thursday, April 17th. Their public performance will be on Saturday, April 19 at 11 a.m. at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center at the Westbrook Middle School. Tickets are $5 for children under 12 and $10 for adults and are available at the door. For more information, please contact Portland Ballet at 207-772-9671 or visit

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