October will be an exciting month for dance in the Portland area, with original ballets performed by both of Greater Portland’s ballet companies and a visit from Philadelphia’s BalletX.

Aimee Petrin, executive director of Portland Ovations, which is presenting BalletX at Merrill Auditorium on Oct. 20, chose the dance company specifically for its range, style and appeal.

With a classical foundation and a repertory that includes pieces from dramatic to comedic by renowned and emerging choreographers, BalletX “bridges classical and contemporary dance in a really strong way,” Petrin said. “And I really like that they are accessible in their movement vocabulary at the same time that they perform sophisticated choreography. They’re not dancing down for us.”

BalletX was founded in 2005 by artistic director Christine Cox and choreographer Matthew Neenan.

“We were looking for something fun, creative and different to do on summer break from Pennsylvania Ballet, where we had met and worked for much of our dance career,” Cox said.

She said the company is deliberately inclusive and “more instinctive.”

“You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy what we do,” she said.

Because the Ovations schedule includes few dance shows, it’s also important to Petrin that BalletX will perform pieces by several different choreographers, which helps provide something for everyone.

“It’s become increasingly important to me to work with as diverse a population of choreographers as possible,” Cox said. “That includes providing a much-needed platform for more (female) choreographic voices to be heard and understood.”

The Portland program likely will include “Slump” by Joshua L. Peugh, which Cox called “sexually provocative and comedic”; “The Last Glass,” a “wildly popular” piece by Matthew Neenan; and dramatic contemporary pieces “It’s Not a Cry” by Amy Seiwert and “Delicate Balance” by Jodie Gates.

Both local companies are performing audience favorites in October that are appealing to children and adults.

Maine State Ballet will present Miele’s “The Little Mermaid” over two weekends, Oct. 8-9 and Oct. 15-16, at the company’s theater in Falmouth. The ballet premiered in 2013 with 12 shows that “sold out immediately,” Miele said, so early ticket purchases are recommended for this year’s eight performances.

Set to music by Ravel and Saint-Seans, “The Little Mermaid” is based on the original story by Hans Christian Andersen rather than the Disney version (although Miele notes that the first run attracted plenty of children in movie-inspired costumes).

Miele said this is a perfect performance for introducing young children to ballet, with “a familiar story, dreamy sets and costumes and just a little hint of a scary sea witch. And, as always, happily ever after.”

Portland Ballet keeps to its tradition of performing a Halloween-themed ballet. This year’s offering is the creepy but fun “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” choreographed by artistic director Nell Shipman in 2010 to an original commissioned score by Kirt N. Mosier. It was performed again in 2011 but hasn’t been on stage since.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing the ballet back this year,” said executive director Michael Romy Greer. “‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ is a lighthearted, family-friendly start to our season, with wonderful dancing and a live orchestra.”

The ballet will be performed on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15 at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center.

Jennifer Brewer is a Portland-based freelance writer.