Students from The Maine Dance Academy in Caribou put on a surprise street performance for their coach after their spring performance was canceled. Credit: Courtesy of Heather Maynard

Up Beat is a new section of the Bangor Daily News dedicated to uplifting stories. Look for tales of people helping people and things that will make you smile.

Heather Maynard was looking out her back window a week or so ago and had a vision. It was a vision of people dancing in the street in a special performance for a beloved Aroostook County dance instructor whose classes and season came to an abrupt halt with the executive stay at home order in March.

So, in the best theatrical tradition of the show must go on, Maynard organized a sort of flash mob of students in Colleen DuPlissie’s Maine Dance Academy in Caribou to perform the finale of what would have been the spring performance of “Moana” at the exact date and time they would have been in final dress rehearsal.

“Colleen is my backyard neighbor,” Maynard said. “With all these trying times and her having to postpone this year’s musical, I just had this vision of the kids dancing in front of her house and surprising her.”

The plan went off without a hitch.

Keeping in mind social distancing recommendations, Maynard said she and other “dance moms” worked with the eight senior dancers to pull off the performance in a safe way. A few additional dancers who live in her neighborhood were asked to join in to round it out.

The dancers and parents parked one street over and one-by-one took circuitous routes to the designated spot in front of DuPlissie’s house.

For her part, DuPlissie had no idea what was coming. Feeling a bit blue with the knowledge that she should have been in dress rehearsal with her students that day, she had decided to keep busy with yard work.

“I was in ugly work boots and dirty from head to toe,” DuPlissie said. “I was taking a break in my hammock when I saw people at the end of my yard and when I got up I saw all the kids it took my breath away.”

When the dancers broke into the Moana finale performance, it hit DuPlissie in all the feels.

“I cried through the whole thing,” she said. “It was the sweetest thing and I was just blown away.”

The students came from all over The County to perform and thank DuPlissie for all she has done for them. Some have been studying with her for 16 years.

“Colleen is always giving to our community,” Maynard said. “This just seemed the perfect thing to do to give back to her.”

As for the show going on, DuPlissie said Moana is now scheduled to open Thanksgiving weekend this coming November.

“I always tell my dancers that our glass is half full,” DuPlissie said. “We are in this together and we will be stronger together.”

Do you know of an uplifting story in Maine? Bangor Daily News Features writer Julia Bayly is on the lookout for Up Beat stories of people, places or things that bring smiles and laughter to your day. Her email address is

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.