BWW Dance Review: NEW YORK CITY BALLET A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM a Beautiful Beginning to the Summer Months
BWW Review: NEW YORK CITY BALLET A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM a Beautiful Beginning to the Summer Months
The afternoon performance on Saturday May 28, 2016 of the New York City Ballet (NYCB) was bubbling with children and balletomanes in anticipation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This playful ballet, which was based upon the Shakespearean play, was delightfully displayed with the combination of music by Felix Mendelssohn and choreography by the company's co-founder, George Balanchine.
Act I and Act II both have their own mysterious and magical elements showcased by the dancers. Those who were prominent played distinct roles. For example the cast of the young lovers in the forest; Lauren King (Helena, in love with Demetrius), Erica Pereira (Hermia, in love with Lysander), Chase Finlay (Lysander, beloved of Hermia), and Zachary Catazaro (Demetrius, suitor of Hermia), had the audience pulled into the lengthy section because of the consistent dance versatility and its accompanying comedy. The facilitator, Troy Schumacher who portrayed Puck (the imp who plays tricks on humans in the forest) had the foursome switching who was in love with whom. Swordfights galore of Mr. Catazaro and Mr. Finlay mixed with the iconic en pointe fast-paced footwork of the two dancers was a joy to watch. Their story was wrapped up when Oberon, danced by Daniel Ulbricht, instructed Puck to put the two couple's love interests back in order.
I was extremely impressed with Daniel Ulbricht's technique and silent landings. Incredibly, this choreography would have been difficult for the most seasoned male dancer. Mr. Ulbricht's clean entre chat six and numerous jumps not only consisted of silent landings, yet also with precision. He is compact within each move, which is technique I have not encountered with too many male artists lately. Thus, my taking notice of his movement and his approach to the choreography. Titania, danced by Teresa Reichlen, was a joy as well with beautiful extensions and expressive arms. I would characterize her as ethereal and otherworldly. During the second act, I could not take my eyes off of Amar Ramasar's explosive grand jetés and leadership on stage. He and his divertissement absolutely led this act. My only criticism with the entire ballet is its show structure. Act I was a little too long and was finalized story whereas, in most ballets by intermission, there is a storyline unrest or climax before the upcoming acts. Maybe I am conditioned to that type of full-length structure.
Overall, the New York City Ballet presented a whimsical and festive A Midsummer Night's Dream. To also note, the School of American ballet students were very professional by the demonstration of their discipline and in tandem group formations. It is no wonder that when these students are asked to join the company, they filter impeccably into the ballet realm. A wonderful performance for the magical summer season in New York style. I hope to continue to see more from these dancers in their classic repertoire and their debuting ballets.
Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik