There are few better role models or exemplifications of what hard work and passion can bring into your life than Rhiannon. Born, raised, and (largely) trained in Maine, Rhiannon reached the pinnacle of a ballet career in her home state by achieving the title of Principal Ballerina with Maine State Ballet at the age of nineteen. She was also one of the youngest dancers to join the Maine State Ballet Company at age fourteen.
Rhiannon has been classically trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, musical theater, and contemporary with companies such as Boston Ballet and the American Academy of Ballet, with much of her training coming directly from her director and mentor, Linda MacArthur Miele of Maine State Ballet (a former pupil of dance legend, George Balanchine). Miele describes her by saying: “She’s lovely. She’s just a hard worker. She has a natural strength and ability... She is always upping her performance” (Portland Press Herald). At Boston Ballet, she shared classes and became friends with notable artists of today such as Lex Ishimoto, Daniel R. Durrett, Misha Culver, Tanner Blee, and Maia Charanis. She trained with esteemed instructors like Lia and Jeffrey Cirio, Tai Jimenez, Tamara King, Igor Burlak, Tara Gragg, and Alla Nikitina. At age sixteen, Rhiannon was invited to Boston Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program at Walnut Hill (a feeder program to their company) with recommendations from Boston Ballet’s director, Margaret Tracy. After searching her soul, Rhiannon ultimately declined the opportunity at Boston Ballet to continue her career at Maine State Ballet and build her life in her home state.
To this date, she has expanded her repertoire with MSB to include just about every leading role in the Maine State Ballet repertoire including: "Aurora" in Sleeping Beauty, "Swanhilda" in Coppelia, "Kitri" in Don Quixote, the title roles in The Firebird and Cinderella, a soloist in Balanchine’s Serenade, "Odette/Odile" in Swan Lake, and of course, "Sugar Plum" and "Dew Drop" in The Nutcracker, the latter of which has earned Rhiannon critical acclaim – her performance said by one reviewer to rival that of even New York City Ballet’s artists. Some of her highest praises from multiple New England publications are quoted below.
Throughout her career, Rhiannon has collaborated on many projects with other choreographers, photographers, and videographers across New England including “The Messenger,” a short film by Roger McCord published on The Maine Monitor that featured her life and perseverance as an arts entrepreneur through a pandemic; the music video for “December,” by Roseview (Tragic Hero Records); projects with Maine-based contemporary ballet company, Ballet Bloom; and various modelling calls.
With her strong technical background and expertise in the performing arts, Rhiannon naturally transitioned into the realm of choreography, receiving awards from regional and national competitions for her work. She also produced and directed her own version of The Firebird with Maine Dance Theatre’s students in 2016. Her artistic reach goes beyond that of ballet, being recognized as a student for her strong tap and musical theater abilities with the Peggy Etter Tap scholarship. Her training background in that realm includes close mentorship from icons such as Robyn Hurder (Moulin Rouge), Clyde Alves (Anything Goes), Andrei Chagas (Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story), Leigh-Ann Esty (Carousel), Sara Esty (An American in Paris), Solange Sandy (Chicago), and Roberto Forleo (Trockadero).
Rhiannon explores her passion for healthy living, fitness, and cross training alongside her husband who has a background in personal training. She collaborates closely with David Reese (Falmouth Physical Therapy – Reese often works with dancers at Boston Ballet and Alvin Ailey) to develop programs and therapy regimens for dancers, as athletes, to care for their bodies. This pairs beautifully with her certification as an Acrobatics Arts instructor (a curriculum utilized by Cirque De Soleil acrobats) to further her knowledge of anatomy and healthy dance practices, and to help her develop more versatile artists and athletes with tumbling and acrobatic skills.
If her dance accreditations weren’t enough to speak of her work ethic, Rhiannon also maintained fantastic scholastic achievements, beginning her college career at age 16 and graduating from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine with a degree in Writing, Publishing, & Business at age 20 at the top of her class. She was on the Dean’s List every semester and received multiple collegiate awards in addition to partaking in the school’s National Honors Society: Delta Epsilon Sigma. Through college, she balanced her dance involvement with business positions including an internship for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a job in Human Resources at Idexx Laboratories, and editorial assistant positions for various publications focusing on homesteading as well as dance. You can find her own writings published on platforms including danceadvatage.net, settingthebarre.com, and dakiki.com. She has also interviewed famous dancers including Adiarys Almeida (Boston Ballet) and Joseph Gatti (United Ballet Theatre).
She maintains relationships with her college professors and through their guidance, developed a passion for entrepreneurship. When the opportunity to own a dance studio fell into Rhiannon’s lap, it quickly became clear that this was the dream she never knew she had, and the perfect next step in her life. Beginning at age 15, Rhiannon has taught classes at dance schools all over Maine and cultivated a deep love of teaching dance and inspiring the next generation. By owning her own dance studio, she was able to put that passion to its best use and cultivate a staff of dance professionals that prioritize quality training, positivity, and instilling a lifelong appreciation for the arts in their classes. Students and parents seek out Rhiannon’s training not only for her professional experience and passionate demeanor with her students, but because she fills the role of a positive mentor in any student’s life. Rhiannon grows and improves Maine Dance Center’s programs every single day and tends to its rising competitive team, MDC Elite, with extreme care for each individual dancer and the group as a whole. Through the school and team, she motivates students to be the best version of themselves inside and outside of the classroom. Her students succeed on the regional and national level at various competitions including Youth American Grand Prix.
To Rhiannon, charity and philanthropy is an important part of being in the arts community, she has been involved in performances such as “The Autism Benefit” and “The Best of Broadway,” that raised funds for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. She hopes, with the pandemic behind us, to expand her charitable outreach programs with MDC. This and many other reasons is also why Rhiannon decided to seize another business opportunity alongside her sister (Adrienne Pelletier) and mother (Beth Pelletier), and take ownership of a local business called Rent-A-Princess, well-known for its philanthropy throughout Maine. This organization fit like a perfect puzzle piece into the Pelletier’s existing ventures, and adds a touch of magic to the Maine Dance Center programs.
Rhiannon balances all of that with her favorite job of all, being a mom to her son, Julian, and wife to husband, Travis. Her primary motive is to be a positive role model for young women, proving that you can support yourself and family within the arts (in Maine, no less), find success as a female entrepreneur, lead an active and healthy lifestyle, and to inspire the next generation to tap into a strong foundational work ethic and chase after their dreams.
November 25, 2012
December 1, 2013
April 4, 2016
March 29, 2017
August 11, 2017
March 28, 2022
“Rhiannon Pelletier was a revelation as Dew Drop in Waltz of the Flowers. This role is one of the parts of the ballet for which Maine State Ballet uses the choreography of George Balanchine (thanks to artistic director Linda MacArthur Miele’s long-term association with New York City Ballet). The Dew Drop choreography epitomizes Balanchine’s talent for marrying music and movement, which Miele shares, and is shown at its best by a dancer who is deeply, “organically,” musical. Pelletier is this dancer. On a technical level, she impressed with suspended jumps and sustained balances. Her performance was breathtaking, however, because of her artistic absorption.” – Jennifer Brewer (on Maine State Ballet’s The Nutcracker, 2012, when Rhiannon was sixteen years old)
“Perhaps the most exciting dancing of the evening was Rhiannon Pelletier’s rendition of the Dew Drop in “Waltz of the Flowers.” Much of artistic director Linda MacArthur Miele’s choreography is closely aligned with that of her mentor, the legendary George Balanchine. Thus, Maine State Ballet’s Dew Drop can be compared directly with the same role in the New York City Ballet. With that in mind, Pelletier’s was among the best performances this reviewer has ever seen, anywhere. Pelletier used her strength and technical prowess for their true purpose: to support artistry and interpretation. One with the music, she floated and sparkled through Dew Drop’s various cameo appearances, each one over too soon.” – Jennifer Brewer
“Rhiannon Pelletier took the lead role of Princess Aurora. Her performance, in both extensive balancing turns as well as the famous dives (sculptural moments when the ballerina is held low to the floor by her partner), was strong. Her phrasing was precise and she partnered well with Nathaniel Dombek as her prince, establishing the romantic attraction that made for some delicately emotive, cello-backed passages in Act II.” – Steve Feeney
“On opening night, Rhiannon Pelletier gave an appropriate sense of struggle to the gradual metamorphosis of her character, Odette, from spellbound Swan Queen to the subject of the affections of young Prince Siegfried. Her graceful arm and hand movements and fluttering steps soon evolved from bird-like to decidedly human expressions as she partnered with Nathaniel Dombek.
The sense for fragile vulnerability that Pelletier gave to her Odette was powerfully countered in her second role as Odile, the famous black swan who tries to entice Siegfried by imitating Odette. Making the most of the mission of seduction given to her by her sorcerer father, Rothbart, Pelletier’s Odile took full advantage of her wiles in sensual passages that mimic Odette without ever arriving at her more delicate allure.” – Steve Feeney
“As Kitri, Rhiannon Pelletier was stunning in the opening performance Thursday evening. She executed Kitri’s hops on pointe in the famed solo variation with both delicacy and quickness, she achieved elevation even in runs, she worked with the music to extract moments of breath in her balances, her acting was nuanced, and each of her varied lifts with Dombek was strong, smooth and well-timed.
Although her musicality and technique were delicious throughout, Pelletier’s most dramatic moment came near the end of the ballet, with an impressive series of fouettes. These whipping turns, famous for the Black Swan’s series of 32 in “Swan Lake,” are not easy, especially without traveling across the stage to maintain balance. Pelletier not only completed 28 or 32 of them (I lost count in all the excitement) but did them on the spot and threw in some doubles as well as a series changing orientation to the four sides of the stage.
Pelletier and Dombek were well-paired in their various duets and the pas de deux. They maintained unison even in landings from jumps – no mean feat for a pas de deux pair, considering the physical differences between male and female dancers – and their arms and legs were in lovely alignment.” – Jennifer Brewer
“The most attractive pure dance sequence of the performance came when the Rose, Rhiannon Pelletier, led her Rose Maidens and Rosebuds in a lovely final moment of ballet that was more than enough to charm just about any beast in the house.” – Steve Feeney (on Maine State Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast, 2022)