Portland Ballet coming to Raymond

RAYMOND – Six dancers from the upcoming Portland Ballet production of “The Victorian Nutcracker” are coming to Raymond this weekend as part of the Hawthorne Association’s final Victorian Tea of the season.

On Sunday, Dec. 11, from 2-4:30 p.m., the boyhood home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, located at the intersection of Cape Road and Hawthorne Road, will be decked out in Victorian holiday style welcoming the public to enjoy scones, wassail (punch), tea, cheeses, fruit and performances by the dancers, five of whom have Raymond connections.

Performing will be Raymond residents and Portland Ballet members Molly Nichols, 8, as a toy soldier; Maia Tangen and Olivia Bartlett, both 12, as snow angels; and Margaret McGovern, 15, as a flower.

Joining the ballerinas in Victorian-era dress will be Portland Ballet’s director of development Leslie Gibbons and Kate Smedal, who operates CenterStage Performing Arts studio in Raymond and is a member of the professional company of Portland Ballet. The two will wear handmade gowns used in “The Victorian Nutcracker,” a version of the classic ballet set in Victorian-era Portland.

The event is organized by Jana Cummings, who moved to Raymond three years ago and fell in love with the Hawthorne home and became a member of the Hawthorne Association with her husband, Jim Cummings. Cummings collects nutcrackers and proposed to the association the Victorian Nutcracker Tea at Christmastime because, she said, “I wanted something a little bit different, and nothing says Christmas like the Nutcracker ballet.”

So, Cummings called Portland Ballet to see if they were available, and Gibbons was eager to oblige since the event could also help promote the Nutcracker performances.

“We do different outreaches in the area just to get the word out so people can see what it’s all about,” Gibbons said. “And we’re thrilled to collaborate with the Hawthorne Association in this inaugural event.”

Portland Ballet members and Raymond residents, from left, Molly
Nichols, Olivia Bartlett and Maia Tangen will perform at Sunday’s
Victorian Nutcracker Tea at the Hawthorne House in Raymond. Another
local ballerina, Maggie McGovern, will perform, as well. (Courtesy