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
Staff Writer

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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

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Wyly, now 73, hopes the ballet program will continue to send students to St. Petersburg every other year, as it has in the past, he said. Because of his status, Bossov got students into places most people could not access in the city, he said.

“It’s such an experience. The dancers come back literally transformed,” he said.

Wyly spoke affectionately about the ballet and Bossov, whom he counts as a close friend.

Their partnership started when he persuaded Bossov to return to the U.S. from Russia in 1996. Bossov had been in the U.S. earlier and had worked with dancers at what was then the Waterville Performing Arts Center.

“I called Andre, transatlantic, and said, ‘We need to get you back,’” Wyly recalled. “I met him at Boston’s Logan Airport in 1996. It was the 23rd of February, 1996, that I put my money down at the Augusta State House and founded Bossov Ballet Theatre as a nonprofit.”

Wyly’s wife, Linda, sewed costumes for the company; and their daughter, Summer, studied under Bossov. Wyly said he wanted the best teacher for her and knew they had found it in Bossov.

Over the years, both Bossov and Getman, who auditioned to work with Bossov in 2001, got their U.S. citizenship. Wyly, a retired 30-year U.S. Marine colonel with a master’s degree in Russian history, taught Russian history to the ballet students. In addition to ballet, Bossov also taught freestyle dancing and acting, according to Wyly.

“He’s very proud of what he did here and of course was very affectionate toward his dancers, and they with him,” he said.

Wyly said he imagined from the ballet’s inception that it eventually would be turned over to MCI.

Looking forward

Getman is thrilled to be working with MCI and the Opera House in directing “The Nutcracker,” her first full-length ballet.

“It is very special to me, very near and dear to my heart,” she said.

“The Nutcracker” is the story of Clara, a little girl whose parents host a big party on Christmas Eve. The children receive toys as gifts; Clara’s is a nutcracker. She eventually falls asleep, dreaming the toys and tree come to life and her nutcracker turns into a prince. She rides on a sleigh with the prince through a snowy forest before waking up to find it has all been a dream.

The ballet is choreographed to music composed by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky.

“To me, choreography is not just the movement,” Getman says. “It’s enhancing the music — because the music came first. The inspiration for me is the music.”

Getman’s cast includes about four dozen children, teenagers and adults.

“The professional level of their execution is very high,” she said. “It makes me very pleased.”

Like Wyly, Getman said one does not have to be educated in ballet to enjoy and appreciate it. If a ballet is well done, certain moments will be etched in the viewer’s mind, according to Getman.

“I hope we succeed in this production to leave good memories,” she said.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15.

Amy Calder — 861-9247 Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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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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