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A Midummer Night's Dream

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I haven't seen this topic so I thought I'd have a go. Please remove if I'm doing something wrong.

Saw Midsummer Night's Dream last night. I'm again reminded that it is a truly wonderful ballet. The cast that I saw gave delightful performances. Maria Kowroski was wonderful, her amplitude, generosity of movement and presence were all perfect for this role. DeLuz & Ulbricht were also wonderful in their roles. DeLuz is always a class act. Technically and artistically he was all one could ask for (at least this one). Askegard as Tatania's cavalier was the cavalier any woman would want. Wendy Whelan and Philip Neal did the Divertissement pas de deux. This pas is a favorite of mine. The musicality, quietness, beauty and purity of emotion conveyed in the choreography has always moved me. I was not disappointed. It is interesting to me that this particular pas requires mature artists (in my opinion). I have to think about that more to figure out why I think that.

A last note - the children in the ballet are always great. It's amazing to see young children who really know how to be onstage and present themselves while also remembering steps and spacing. I happened to be seated in the orchestra, very close to the stage. 2 young children actually let out slight giggles (I'm sure they couldn't be heard beyond the 5th or 6th row). They looked so excited to be on stage, I'm sure they were giggles of delight (don't tell the powers that be, they might be reprimanded).

I'd love to hear reviews from others. Particularly of other casts. I'm very curious about Mearns. Titania seems suited to her.

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I thought Mearns was outstanding last night - she is such a beautiful, gracious, and regal dancer. Garcia was impeccable - his beats made my jaw drop. I was also incredibly impressed by Hanna's partnering - I'm not sure I noticed him much prior to his run in Billy Elliot, but I'm excited to see him in more NYCB this season. Pereira was great as the Butterfly - she was a last minute replacement for Dronova. She is quick, spry, and a phenomenal technician - and you can always tell she enjoys dancing - as a result, she is a pleasure to watch. The children, as always, were fabulous and received a special round of applause. Sometimes, early in the winter season, I feel that performances appear under-rehearsed - I did not feel that way at all during last night's performance - I thought everyone did a great job. I'm looking forward to the remainder of the season.

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I saw last night's performance. Erica Perreira again subbed as Butterfly, this time for Brittany Pollack. I think "spry" is a great description of most of her performance, but what I loved most were her languid arabesques, a luscious contrast.

Is Sean Suozzi tall? Because he danced tall and gave one of the most physical performances of Puck I've seen, combining Caliban's strength with Ariel's swiftness, danced with virile grace. I loved his relationship with Andrew Veyette's Oberon, especially how he became more invested in the mortal lovers over the course of Act I. When he called Helena to Lysander, he was trying to get the job done. Later, when he called Helena to Demetrius, he did it with gentle affection.

I've seen many Oberons make an impression in the Scherzo with the opening pose, but what was particularly impressive about Veyette's Oberon was the specificity in his gestures and mime. In the first 15 seconds, before his legs start to move, as he directed the bugs, it was as if he were a cook: some of this, and a lot of that, and hmm, maybe a pinch of this. I rarely watch Oberon's reactions to the lovers; my eye is usually focused on them. Veyette's reactions were so clear and heartfelt that I watched the lovers through him. While he wanted to teach Titania a lesson and get the page, he was not interested in the abject humiliation that often makes me think Titania would be better off with Bottom, and the open, slightly surprised smile when Titania offered the Page ("What? For me? How wonderful!") was priceless.

Like in the performance I saw last Spring, the mime for Bottom's companions was clear and had a story arc. Also like in the performance I saw last Spring, Sterling Hyltin gave a consummate performance of Hermia, her solo being the highlight of Act I. Faye Arthurs was a worthy Helena. Her drama was in the way her legs stabbed and her arms reached, all in her body; in the mime, her hurt was interior and moving. Savannah Lowery was splendid in the Hippolyta's Hounds scene, with huge, strong movement, whipping away the huge clouds of fog. (The fog maker was a bit over-enthusiastic.)

Abi Stafford is a cypher. Although her chest is open, her upper body is strangely unexpressive, and in many places in the Act II Divertissement her port de bras looked half-hearted. Her legs, on the other hand, were all legato and cream, as if they were in a different performance, and her feet were lovely. She seemed unusually dependent on her partner, Sebastien Marcovici, and the partnering was intermittently awkward, which breaks the spell, particularly in that role.

Darci Kistler danced Titania. (I am still in shock at seeing her as a brunette.) Some of her dancing was lovely and some wasn't, which I expected, but I was didn't expect was that she would sometimes over-reach in the mime and characterization when her sheer presence would have been enough. Sigh.

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Sara Mearns was luscious, sexy, generous and endearing last night as Titania. It's so wonderful to have her back on the stage!

I don't think I've ever enjoyed Gonzalo Garcia as much as I did last night! Well maybe I have, but he was that good as Oberon. His solos were spot-on (he completes all the steps and jumps perfectly), and he was a wonderful and attentive partner to Sara. I loved them together.

This is the second time I've seen Troy Schumacher as Puck (the first time was last season). He was good the first time (he filled in at the last second then), but he has grown in the role already. He was totally engaged with everything and everyone on stage (very important for this role), and combined with his fine technique, humor (he didn't overdo it either. Good!), and musicality, he was an especially fine Puck.

I think this is the first time in a long while that I've actually enjoyed the shenigans that go on between Helenia, Hermia, Lysander and Demetrius. The rarely sighted (but always so pleasant) Arch Higgins was delightful -- he's a good actor -- as Demetrius. Abi Stafford

really did seem like a young woman in love (with Demetrius), and of course we know that technically she can do anything! I enjoyed this pairing a lot. Andrew Veyette and Janie Taylor were perfect as the other couple. The role doesn't really allow Andrew to show what he can do as a dancer, but Janie (and also Abi) are given fine solos. I also laughed out loud several times.

Ana Sophia Scheller was a strong Hippolyta (great jumps!). Despite being a small dancer, she conveyed the sense of amplitude that you need for that role. Alina Dronova -- part of the more seasoned corps members -- really shined in the role of the Butterfly. Technically, she's always been incredibly strong, but sometimes she doesn't project as much as she might on stage. Last night she looked like she was having a blast, and this translated into an arresting performance.

Special kudos for Adrian Danchig-Waring. I've made no secret of the fact that he's a favorite of mine, but he was an especially cuddly Bottom. Of course, I'd love to see him as Oberon (or any leading role!), but hopefully that will happen in the near future (he'd also be wonderful paired with Sara).

As I've said before, I'm not a fan of story ballets in general, but I was absolutely enthralled with last night's performance!

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