December 19, 2013

New leadership at Pittsfield’s Bossov Ballet

The Pittsfield-based Bossov Ballet Theatre is undergoing changes with artistic director Andrei Bossov’s return to Russia in August and the retirement of executive director Michael Wyly.

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Pittsfield-based Bossov Ballet Theatre is undergoing changes with artistic director Andrei Bossov’s return to Russia in August and the retirement of executive director Michael Wyly.

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FOUNDER: Bossov Ballet Theatre student dancers rehearse as founder Michael Wyly watches in 2008 at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield.

Staff file photo by David Leaming

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BOSSOV BALLET: Natalya Getman, left, shares a moment with Maine Central Institue sophomore Diyun Wang, 16, during a rehearsal for “The Nutcracker” last week. The Bossov Ballet Theatre is now a part of the Pittsfield school. Getman is the company’s new artistic director, succeeding Andrei Bossov.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Additional Photos Below

But the nonprofit ballet company and school at Maine Central Institute will continue to offer world-class instruction and performances, according to Bossov officials.

Until August, Bossov Ballet was a separate entity from MCI; but now it is a program of the school and continues to work closely with the Waterville Opera House, where many of its performances are held.

“It’s an exciting new chapter in the extraordinary, pre-professional ballet program,” MCI Headmaster Christopher Hopkins said.

Key to continuing the high quality of Bossov’s work is the appointment of Natalya Nikolaevna Getman as the ballet’s new director, according to Hopkins. Getman was Bossov’s assistant artistic director for 12 years.

“She is a perfect mix of honoring the tradition of classical Russian ballet — in particular, the Vaganova technique — blended with an understanding of what today’s ballet dancers need to be successful in professional companies,” Hopkins said.

Getman, an accomplished dancer, performed with the Moscow Ballet in more than 40 cities around the world before joining Bossov in 2001.

She also has produced and choreographed many shows at Waterville Opera House.

“I love what I’m doing,” she said.

Bossov includes children ages 6-13, some of whom live in the school district towns of Pittsfield, Burnham and Detroit, according to Hopkins. High school students also are enrolled in the ballet, including those from MCI, which is a private academy that accepts boarding students from around the world and also is contracted by the three-town district as its high school.

The program is based in Founders Hall on the MCI campus. With the recent changes, the six-week summer program will consist of two one-week sessions and one four-week session instead of the former one-week session and five-week session, according to Hopkins.

Bossov is rehearsing for its annual performance of “The Nutcracker” at Waterville Opera House. Getman said audiences will see a full-length ballet Dec. 13 to 15 with many changes from previous years aimed at enhancing the magical spirit of Christmas.

Opera House Executive Director Diane Bryan said Getman’s moving into the artistic director’s role was a natural progression.

“From my point of view, we’re continuing our collaboration with Bossov Ballet Theatre as usual, but it’s kind of added a nice piece to it. We’re working with MCI as well.”

With the recent Bossov changes, the Opera House this season is producing “The Nutcracker,” which will start dress rehearsals in Waterville this week. Hopkins is excited about MCI’s new role, working in an arena that includes a newly-renovated Opera House, expanded Colby College Museum of Art and other cultural activities in and around Waterville.

Founding a legacy

Andrei Bossov, 60, moved back to St. Petersburg, Russia, in August after 20 years in the U.S.

“The time came that I cannot continue living away from my family,” Bossov said this week in an email.

Bossov, who started the ballet with founder Wyly 18 years ago, said he plans to come back to Maine regularly to visit and be an integral part of the ballet program.

He hopes the MCI-Bossov merger will help it grow and gain more financial stability. His wishes for Bossov are that the studios are improved and more teachers are hired to help to attract more students, he said.

“I hope that MCI will fulfill these needs,” he said.

He described Bossov as a very good school of classical ballet, producing dancers ready for professional work in top ballet companies around the world.

“Three of our students were accepted in Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg,” he said. “One (Gabrielle Perkins) is a student there now.”

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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BOSSOV BALLET: Natalya Getman, center, instructs the ballerinas with the Bossov Ballet Theatre during a rehearsal at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield on Thursday. MCI now oversees the company since founders Andrei Bossov have returned to Russia. Getman, who has choreographed many Bossov and Opera House productions, is the company’s artistic director of Bossov. The Bossov Ballet will be performing “The Nutcracker” this month at the Waterville Opera House.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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NEW DIRECTION: Retired U.S. Marine Col. Micheal Wyly, founder of the Bossov Ballet Theatre, in his office in Pittsfield with mementoes of his two careers.

Staff file photo by David Leaming

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BOSSOV BALLET: Natalya Getman, far right, rehearses with the Bossov Ballet cast of “The Nutcracker” at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield on Thursday. Getman is the new artistic director for Bossov following the departure of Andrei Bossov.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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RISING STAR: Bossov Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Andrei Bossov shares a light moment with student Gabby Perkins in April 2013 during instruction at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. Perkins was one of 15 foreigners to be accepted for enrollment at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia earlier this year.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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JUST SO: Andrei Bossov during rehearsal at the Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield in 1999.

Staff file photo by David Leaming

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REHEARSAL: Andrei Bossov during a rehearsal for “The Nutcracker” in 2004.

Staff file photo by David Leaming



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