In the midst of the cold West Michigan winter, the Creative Arts Repertoire's (CARE Ballet) Midsummer Night's Dream transported the audience to a warm summer night filled with magic and mystery. CARE Ballet performed Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on February 8-9 at St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids. The ballet marked the last performance of the 2013-14 season for CARE Ballet, which typically performs three ballets a season.
Before the show begins, the audience is first drawn into the mood of the ballet by the set, which creates a forest scene. The trees, small hill, and greenery do create a feel that the audience has only to step forward on the stage to be in a woodland.
The careful use of the stage lighting along with the set matched the dancing to tell the story of various scenes throughout the ballet.
In this ballet, the audience easily recognized the difference between the fairies and the humans. Fairy costumes were colorful costumes, with some sparkle, and dancers wore distinct makeup that resembled classic fairy paintings. Seeing children dancing in adorable fairy costumes is part of the charm of this ballet because they are so cute. There were two very young ballerinas playing pixies that looked like little dolls dancing on stage.
The human characters also wore lovely costumes, with the couples wearing matching colors to easily distinguish them as the story unfolds. Theseus, the Duke of Athens and Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, and their court were majestic. The costumes captured the era of the ballet.
Choreography and Staging
CARE Ballet's young cast danced George Balanchine's choreography with beauty, charm and elegance. CARE's artistic director Judy Genson staged the production in a way to honored Balanchine's original choreography and showcased the strengths of each dancer. It should be no surprise that Genson's production captures Balanchine's distinct style because she danced a principal role in the Grand Rapids Civic Ballet's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that Balanchine staged himself in the 1970s.
Overall, CARE ended their 2013-14 season on February 9th with a delightful production that left audiences at each show looking forward to next season. For just one hour the audience left the cold, snowy Midwest and spent an hour of summer in Athens to experience the magic of dance.