Written by Hannah Mae Curddas (Born to Dance Anne).
“That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
Something I always admired about L.M. Montgomery’s writing and what she infused into Anne, was this sense of hope. The idea that, despite life’s struggles and scrapes, a new dawn would bring with it fresh joys and experiences. When our Anne of Green Gables – the Ballet® tour in 2020 was cut short due to COVID-19, we still hadn’t reached the East Coast. We still hadn’t brought Anne home. Finally, over two years later, through patience, determination, and a lot of hard work and hope, Anne has returned to the place of her inception — the beautiful East Coast!
We started our tour in Saint John, New Brunswick, at one of my favourite theatres in Canada — the Imperial Theatre! It was on this stage, 18 years ago, that little ten-year-old me first met Bengt Jörgen and former Ballet Jörgen principal dancer Tara Butler. From backstage, I watched them dance excerpts from Romeo and Juliet and Coppélia and was in complete awe. To be back on that stage and to be dancing the lead role in one of Bengt’s ballets felt so surreal and special for me. And, to top it off, many members of my fiancé’s extended family were in the audience!
After Saint John, we brought Anne to the place she loves best; her precious Prince Edward Island in springtime! Prior to our show in Summerside, I took a walk around town, soaking in the splendor and spirit of PEI, absorbing inspiration for our show. The day following the performance, many company dancers and crew members took a little field trip to the Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish and spent the day reveling in the world of Anne, Matthew, and Marilla. My dear family and my fiancé, who are based in Dartmouth, came to watch the show and joined us on this adventure! Long ago, I visited Green Gables with my family as one of our first family vacations together! It was wonderful to be back there with them and with my dance family.
We followed our Summerside performance with performances in Mabou (home of the incredible Rankin family!), Moncton, and Fredericton, where we did our very first, condensed school performances of Anne of Green Gables – the Ballet®!
Goodness, how we missed the East Coast and all the people there! We visited elementary schools with our Ballet 101 program, we took and taught classes at many amazing ballet studios all over the Maritimes, and we chatted with friends and audience members we hadn’t seen in far too long. In each city, we also had talented young dancers from the community join us on stage as part of our Youth Participant Program. These dancers all did an excellent job and I know that the Ballet Jörgen dancers were glad that we could share the stage with young Atlantic Canadian dancers once again.
Our final stop with Anne of Green Gables – the Ballet® was in Halifax at the Dalhousie Arts Centre! After having premiered the ballet at this venue in September of 2019, we were so excited to be back and to share our show with more Anne fans! I feel so grateful for all the family and friends who came to the show and who held on to hope of seeing Anne of Green Gables – the Ballet ® live once more.
It was so fitting to bring Anne back home to the Maritimes in the spring. The story about this young person’s inextinguishable spirit is a lovely reflection of the perseverance and hope that blossomed in our communities over the past two years. Love and gratitude to everyone who helped us celebrate the reemergence of Anne of Green Gables – the Ballet ®.
– Hannah Mae