'Dream' for Pa. Youth Ballet
Late spring is here with rain and blooming trees and soon summer will be upon us with the "A Midsummer Night's Dream" production of the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (PYB) of the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley, 7 p.m. May 24, Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem.
As Shakespeare's King Oberon from "A Midsummer Night''s Dream puts it, "I know a bank where wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows ... "
Here's your chance to glimpse frolicking faeries, dancing ladybugs, fireflies and magic with love tested by mortals and immortals spellbound by Puck. In the one-act ballet, students of the PYB will be inspired to perform for the first time a full-scale production other than the holiday season's "Nutcracker."
George Balanchine, responsible for establishing ballet in the United States, premiered his first completely-original, full-length ballet, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," in 1962. Like Balanchine, Karen Knerr, PYB Artistic Director, will also present her first full-length ballet, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," with the talented PYB students on this very special evening.
A very interesting fact is that Balanchine visited the studio of the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley years ago. Perhaps his footsteps echo in the dance halls.
Knerr is also inspired by Felix Mendelssohn's music, as was Balanchine for "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Says Knerr, "I love the music. It is the inspiration."
Mendelssohn wrote the overture at age 17, after reading the play. Knerr thinks, "The overture is like an introduction to the characters as each piece of music sounds like the role of each dancer."
Other music by Mendel-ssohn is "The Fair Melusine." If you don't recognize that, you most likely will recognize the famous "Wedding March."
Guest artists from the American Repertory Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Ballet and Ballet X will join the excited students in partnering with the blend of professional and pre-professional dancers.
PYB students include Colleen Reed (Hermia), Ava Gilotti (Titania), Rachel Altemose (Helena).
Jesse Sani will play Puck and Dylan Keane will be Bottom.
Knerr is spicing up the production with lighting design by Jay Woods, a professor of lighting at Purchase College State University of New York. Says Woods, "My approach to design begins with imagination and is enhanced by the experience in implementing creative solutions that deliver fresh design content."