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The Ballet School turns 25

by Troy R, Bennett

Times Record Staff

Morning sun glows in the windows. French phrases tiptoe around the room to lilting piano music. Ten pairs of lithe arms and legs glide through the air. They arc and curl into impossibly beautiful shapes. They leap and flutter —all under the examining gaze of a master.

“Again,” she says

The teacher teaches and the devoted students learn.

That was the scene for two hours Wednesday morning at The Ballet School in Topsham , as it kicked-off its year-long 25th anniversary celebration with former student, and professional ballet dancer, Rebecca Purser to teaching a special class with five young women dancers. Purser is just ending a three-year stint as principal dancer at the Maine State Ballet. She got her start at The Ballet School, studying under former owner Elizabeth Drucker.

“I learned all the important stuff here,” Purser said, after her morning class with five young women. “I started pointe in this studio.”

Purser began dancing when she was 5-years-old and enrolled at The Ballet School when her father was posted to the Brunswick Naval Air Station, just as she entered high school.

Purser pursued dance therapy and psychology in college. She never stopped dancing and eventually made her way to the Maine State Ballet. She was with the company for eight years. Later this week Purses moves to California, where most of her family lives.

“This is my farewell,” she said.

Read more…

19 Aug 2010


Chris Strout of Brunswick leaps from a pine tree into Sewall Pond in Arrowsic Wednesday afternoon to beat the oppressive heat and humidity.

Chris Strout of Brunswick leaps from a pine tree into Sewall Pond in Arrowsic Wednesday afternoon to beat the oppressive heat and humidity.

5 Aug 2010

Enburi Dancers come to Morse High School in Bath, Maine

Tsuneo Takahashi, 70, performs a comic routine as Ebisu, one of the seven gods of fortune, trying to catch a fish at Morse High School in Bath. (Troy R. Bennett / The Times Record)

The Enburi dancers are on an international friendship group, touring Maine and New York. They come from the Aomori Prefecture on the northern tip of the main Japanese island of Honshu. Aomori means “blue-green forest.”

In late october, 1889, the Bath ship Cheseborough was wrecked there. Nearby villagers rescued a number of the crew and passengers, caring for them until they were well enough to travel home. Citizens of that small village, called Shariki, never forgot their tie to Maine and in 1989 — 100 years later — they established a sister-city relation ship with Bath. This led to a permanent cultural and economic exchange committee that fosters visits such as this one.

2 Jun 2010

Fire on the highway.

On my way home from work on New Year’s Eve I got stuck behind a fender-bender on the highway in Yarmouth. By the time I got close to inching by it, the car unexpectedly caught on fire. Nobody was hurt, except the car. I called my friend Jeff Ham, an editor at the Portland Press Herald, to see if he could use the picture since we were south of The Times Record’s coverage area. It made it to their website. I’m not sure about the print edition.

3 Jan 2010

The King

You never know what you’ll find when you head out the door with some camera gear slung over your shoulder. Often, you see the same sorts of things when you head out without a camera, and then you just have a big fish story to tell, but no picture.

3 Jan 2010