A whole cast of pirates walked the pier to the Ocean Gateway last week for a pirate bash celebrating the Maine State Ballet’s premiere run of “Le Corsair,” which opens Saturday and runs through April 12.

“We’re putting a lot of time and effort into producing a new ballet, and this is the kickoff,” said Beth Pelletier, whose daughter Rhiannon is a principal dancer. “There are new costumes – 75 of them – new choreography, and new scenery” designed by associate director Gail Csboth.

“It’s got sword fighting and romance and villains,” said Simon Skold, who plays a pirate in this ballet, the first he’s danced in. “And who doesn’t love a pirate?”

“With all the sword fighting, the boys in the ballet are in heaven,” said principal dancer Janet Davis.

Her husband and dance partner, Glenn Davis, added, “It’s an action-packed love story.”

“We wanted to do this party in promotion for the new ballet, which is a very expensive new production,” said Linda Miele, artistic director. “It’s something people haven’t seen before in Maine.”

“It’s always great to do a new ballet,” said Jonathan Miele, director. “It brings a new excitement. When you get to be on the ground floor of bringing a new ballet, that we’ll bring back again and again, being one of the originals is something special.”

The Pirate Bash included a snippet of the ballet, performed by soloists Rhiannon Pelletier of Raymond and Maiki Saito of Scarborough.

With the bar boasting a “Grog Menu” and restrooms labeled as the “Poop Deck,” the pirate theme was in evidence everywhere – from the silent auction to the food to the photo booth.

“We were hoping for more people, but we’re having fun and making memories,” said Jonathan Miele, chuckling as ballet dancers let loose to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and “Cha Cha Slide.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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