Methuen Ballet Ensemble is Raising the Barre

The Methuen Ballet Ensemble is bringing “The Nutcracker” to the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Newburyport for its 10th year! This production is expected to be the biggest, most elaborate, and dazzling one yet with the new costumes, new choreography, and the addition of two renowned guest artists. 
Sabi Varga, formerly of Boston Ballet joins Methuen Ballet Ensemble’s production in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier. Mr. Varga is also lending his artistic talents as guest choreographer for this year’s snow scene pas de deux and the sugar plum fairy pas de deux. Working with Mr. Varga has been an experience this small, local ballet company will not soon forget. 

Artistic Director and Company founder, Vanessa Voter Shaheen said, “Sabi has been a true friend to Methuen Ballet Ensemble over the last couple of years. He’s worked with us, taught master classes, and now he’s continuing to work with us in our Nutcracker production.” Having just retired from Boston Ballet this year after a celebrated 15 year career as a soloist with the company, Mr. Varga’s talents as a guest dancer, choreographer, and teacher are in high demand all over the world.  Ms. Voter Shaheen said, “We are so fortunate to have him with us, at our studio, helping us grow. I watch him work with my dancers and it’s just a joy. He challenges my dancers to tap into their artistry, and their passion.” Mr. Varga will be dancing the sugar plum fairy pas de deux with Methuen Ballet Ensemble Principal Dancer and Haverhill, MA resident, Ashley Shaheen. 

IMG_4461 (1)

Also joining the production is guest artist Cameron Morgan, a profess
ional ballet dancer with Festival Ballet Providence.  Mr. Morgan will be dancing the snow pas de deux with Methuen Ballet Ensemble Principal Dancer and Salem, NH native, Megan Martineau.  

The Methuen Ballet Ensemble is a ballet company comprised of only eight dancers.  The dancers all work, have careers outside of dance, raise families, go to school; but they come to the studio for countless hours each week to train and rehearse for their various productions.  The Ensemble is based out of Voter’s School of Dance in Salem, NH, which provides more than enough training and rehearsal space for the small company.  Being housed at Voter’s also helps the company cast the children’s roles in all of the productions.  According to Ms. Voter Shaheen, “All students at Voter’s are given the opportunity to participate in the productions.  No auditions required.  Every student who wants to be part of the production is cast.”  For the Nutcracker, an even wider net is cast.  “I am also the ballet mistress at North Shore Performing Arts Center in Ipswich, so I invite all of my students there to participate as well.”  As a result of this open invitation, the cast keeps getting bigger.  “That’s the best part.  Ballet is my passion, and to get to share that with these children at these schools is special.”  Adding two professional ballet dancers to the group makes it even more special. 

“Many of my students have had the opportunity to take class from Sabi and they just love him.  Now they see that he is dancing in the Nutcracker and they can see how he performs, and his professionalism.  It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for any young dancer.”

Not to be outdone, Ms. Voter Shaheen says that the Ensemble has been training harder than ever and all of the dancers are performing at the top of their game.  “It’s so amazing to see these dancers dedicate their own personal time to the company.  That’s how you know you are passionate about something.  It’s not work.  We are dancing for joy.”

What to know if you go:
$25.00 for matinee
$27.00 for evening performance with gala
November 25, 2017
3PM Matinee 
6PM Gala, 7PM performance
November 26, 2017
3PM Matinee
Firehouse Center for the Arts
1 Market Square
Newburyport, MA