‘Midsummer Night’s’ a dream for dance company.
By Sue Langenberg
–Rockford Dance Company performed the ballet “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Sullivan Centre this weekend. The spring concert was pulled from the company’s repertoire and choreographed by artistic director Margaret Faust to the music of Felix Mendelossohn.
–The ballet lived up to its original classic self in the former New American Theatre location that provided the perfect venue for the Shakespearean piece with whizzy entrances and hasty exits for each mood.
–About Shakespeare, it is important to fathom that his late 16th century creations were cast as one gender with one gender en traviste; or no women. This piece is charmingly reminiscent in that women were portrayed as weak femme fatales that Shakespeare mocked with comedic results.
–This ballet may be perceived as more character-driven and less technically dependant as in full length ballets with showcase variations. This version, so carefully crafted by Faust, was nevertheless technical from curtain to curtain, with well-rehearsed scenes and keenly professional polish.
–While most of the cast was home-grown, there were some guest highlights for visual pleasure. Avram Gold as Oberon brought seasoned experience to the role, as well as technical prowess. Though his base is currently Omaha Theater Ballet, he has worked with choreographers all over including Ben Stevenson of Houston Ballet. Friday evening, he accomplished princely tricks to convince any audience that he could master multiple pirouettes, double cabrioles, barrel turns and much grand allegro with clean control.
–Also, courtesy of Northern Illinois University Dance Department, was guest Brian Hurd as lover Lysander. He was also cleanly technical providing good support for a delightfully feminine Hermia danced by Hillary Mellinger.
–From Auburn High School’s Creative and Performing Arts Program (CAPA) was featured artist Jeffrey Wang dancing the role of Demetrius. His work was energy-charged and a great effort.
–Also featured artist was Edgar Stiltner as Nick Bottom. Familiar to Rockford dance and theatre stages, Stiltner brought his martial arts experience to the role.
–Regular RDC member Marina Ragonese-Barnes danced the role of queenly Titania. Her maturing work has reached a notable junction where her physical line is lengthening and port de bras (carriage of the arms) is the icing above and beyond challenging choreography, especially in second act pas de deux with Oberon Gold.
–Also notable was Martha Shaw as Puck. She brought the spunk and spitfire to the unisex role necessary to haul off the magic trickery. Rachel Seger as Cobweb performed strongly with her fearless style, as did Bailey Glavan, Anna Moczynski, Anastasia Benson and Kitzia Picon, as well as the well-staged fairies, imps, dragonflies, courtiers, fireflies, butterflies, band of comic rustics, unicorns, ladybugs, rabbits and adorable Changeling Boy John Carlson.
–One musical tech glitch was cause to long for live orchestra.