FALMOUTH — It may be a little scary when the witch comes out. But only for a minute or two. She goes away quickly.
Linda McArthur Miele makes a promise she can keep when she says that Maine State Ballet’s new 60-minute original ballet “The Little Mermaid,” is wholesome and family friendly.
“It’s going to be beautiful, and that is not a given these days,” said Miele, the ballet company’s artistic director. “I’m not a fan of seeing what kind of shock value we can create. In my world, everything is beautiful. It’s a ballet. Get away for an hour. It’s uplifting and happy.”
Maine State will present the ballet at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday, and five additional performances Oct. 11-13 at its theater on Route 1 in Falmouth.
Miele and associate director Gail Csoboth have created a ballet based not on the Disney version of “The Little Mermaid,” but on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. There will be no redhead mermaid with a crab friend. People who attend will see the story as Andersen wrote it, not the revised pop-culture version.
Maine State did, however, make one significant change. “We made ours with a happy ending,” Miele said. “The actual fairy tale is a little more grim that I wanted it to be. So in our version, they live happily ever after, which is how we do it here.”
Csoboth hatched the concept for this piece. She’s been after Miele for a few years to create a storybook ballet. She completed the set and costumes, and Miele selected music, wrote the libretto and tackled the choreography
She weaved together music by about a half-dozen composers, and recorded the libretto this summer. It will be presented with recorded music and a cast of about 40 dancers.
“I can do choreography very quickly. That is what I do. Our dancers are dancing so much, they are very fast about learning things. It’s the preparation of getting to the point that you start choreography that takes a long time, especially if no score is written. Once I had the music down and everything else in place, the actual choreography took about two weeks,” Miele said.
Veronica Druchniak, 17, of Standish, dances the lead role of Ariel. “I really love the musicality in this role. The music that Linda picked is really beautiful. It brings out the emotion in my character and the entire ballet,” she said.
She loves the costumes that Csoboth designed. In Act I, she wears a mermaid costume with “awesome green tights” and a rainbow-colored bodice with fish scales. In Act II, she wears a pale blue gown.
Her hair is naturally blonde, and is thankful that Miele didn’t ask her to dye her hair red to match the Disney character.
Very likely, “The Little Mermaid” will be the first of several similar storybook ballets for Maine State. Csoboth has plans for a series of original ballets, and Miele feels energized to produce them.
“The credit really goes to Gail. She is a brilliant woman, and much of this is her brainchild,” Miele said.
She invites families to come and expect a wholesome good time.
“I hope that little children will enjoy it, even if there is not a dancing crab.”
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: