TOPSHAM — Now that plants are pushing their way up above ground, grass is sprouting in yards and people believe it may be safe to put away those heavy winter clothes, another spring tradition is upon us in Midcoast Maine: The annual spring performance by The Ballet School in Topsham.

This year it’s “Cinderella” which will burst upon the stage of the Orion Performing Arts Center May 5 and 6 with 109 performers, including the choreographer/owner/instructor of The Ballet School, Elizabeth Drucker.

While the youngest students and performers are 5 years old, more of the dancers are older. Drucker says it wasn’t always that way.

“We used to have the most students being little kids, and now the biggest bulk is in our intermediate and advanced stage, 11 and up,” she says. “They really comprise the show, and the advanced group, which is teenagers, is the biggest section of the show. So it’s nice to see that grow.”

One of the pleasures Drucker has with her school is not only the teaching element, but watching how kids, little ballerinas, blossom into incredible dancers, and just as incredible young women and young men.

Sarah Meyer-Waldo, dancing in the role of Cinderella, is graduating this spring third in her class at Morse High School in Bath, and next fall will be attending the University of Maine, majoring in mechanical engineering.

She started at The Ballet School back when she was in seventh grade, and never forgot watching the lead dancer perform in the ballet “Alice in Wonderland.”

“She brought so much character to the role and was such a gorgeous dancer,” Sarah recalls. “I fell in love with that and the show was a real eye-opener for me. I loved being a part of it, although I had a very minor role.”

And now, Sarah knows the ballet slipper is on the other foot, so to speak, and it’s her and the older dancers that the younger ones look up to.

“I know we’re setting a good example for them, not just with dancing,” she adds, “but also with character, because we have a lot of really fantastic girls at The Ballet School … so I hope they follow in our lead.”

And what is Sarah’s favorite part of this ballet classic written in the 1940s?

“The whole thing,” she says enthusiastically. “It’s so dynamic! All of our dancers are so talented and just bring a lot of themselves to whatever role they’re playing. And it’s really magical.”

Part of that magic is in the performance between Sarah as Cinderella, and Adams Carney, the young man dancing as the prince. Drucker describes Sarah as a fabulous dramatic dancer with wonderful theater skills, and remembered watching them both last year when Sarah danced with Carney in “Hansel and Gretel.”

“They just had great chemistry on stage,” she said. “And it was just a no-brainer that they would make a wonderful ‘Cinderella’ couple. So we had that to start with … and ‘Cinderella’ was just such a natural fit for them.”

Drucker also loves the music by Sergei Prokofiev and the fairy tale itself, a story which dates back centuries. As Drucker points out, people may know the story, but not necessarily the ballet.

“It’s a school that we’re working with, and I want the dance to work with our students. The ballet can be what we want it to be, and so that really fit with my vision for this school.”

The show’s lighting designer, who Drucker calls a great artist in his own right, sits in on rehearsals and told Drucker he was quite moved by it, and had forgotten how romantic the story “Cinderella” really is.

“It’s joyful, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s lots of energy,” says Drucker, as she pauses, then finishes with a smile. “It’s lots of really great kids who love their roles, so you can’t keep the smiles off their faces when they run out to do their parts. It’s just contagious, I think!”

You can catch “Cinderella” at 3 p.m. May 5 and 6, at the Orion Center for the Performing Arts in Topsham.

Tickets are on sale at the door, $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors and kids under 12. For more information, visit


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