For many people this coming weekend is all about turkey and trimmings, but for students at The Portland Ballet it’s about fairies and frivolity. This weekend they’re performing a world premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play, of course, was originally written by William Shakespeare. It was choreographed as a ballet by George Balanchine in 1962 and has since had many other versions around the world. This brand new version was designed by John Clifford specifically for the students here. It is complete with original costumes, lighting, and live music — Felix Mendelssohn’s famous score — performed by the Portland State University Symphony Orchestra.
Recently a student named Caroline wrote on The Portland Ballet’s blog:
The past few weeks have flown by in a flurry of pointe shoes, hair pins, and rehearsals and the next twelve will be over before we know it. The reality of how close the shows are truly sank in today when we had our first official dress rehearsal. It was truly magical seeing all of the roles come to life with colorful wigs, light up skirts and turquoise ballet flats … I can only imagine how fantastic everything will look once it’s framed on a stage with lighting, a set, and an orchestra in the pit!
This weekend will also be the premiere of a new documentary, Nerves of Steel, that that follows students at The Portland Ballet for a year. We’ll find out what being a part of an original ballet means to these kids.
Did you grow up in pointe shoes and tutus, or dance belts and tights? Do your children take ballet? How has this dance form affected you?