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Ib Andersen’s New A Midsummer Night’s Dream


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The problem with new productions is that they, well, don’t exist yet. The visuals – costumes, sets, performances – all live (to varying degrees) within the creators’ minds – places generally difficult to access. (Just ask any marketing department!). In this case, Artistic Director Ib Andersen has already choreographed and presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the past, but this time around, it will feature completely new costumes and sets. Tidbits are starting to trickle out…

If you’re very quick with your mouse, you can pause the promo video below, and see some photos of designer Fabio Toblini’s captivating costume sketches. It’s easy to spot Titania and Oberon, the Indian changeling, jaguar-spotted Hippolyta and the Duke, a couple of rude mechanicals, and lots of appropriately pint-sized fairies.

YouTube MSND Promo

Featured in the promo video is lithe, spare, and nimble Ricardo Santos, who seems a natural to portray Puck, although he’ll need to look slightly less gleeful, and a bit more devious in the actual show. (There can be little doubt that Mr. Andersen, the master of character portrayal, will see to this.) Here’s a promo photo of Ricardo/Puck in action, alongside Titania/Jill Barrell:


Also new, and obviously a source of pride, is that costumes and sets will be produced in-house at Ballet Arizona’s Center for Dance. Mr. Andersen is quoted from the PV Independent:

“We have never undertaken a project this massive in our own shops before, and it is something of which I am very proud.”

“To witness what we are able to do and build here is beyond anything I ever thought possible. In our home studios each day, I coach our talented and beautiful dancers in rehearsals, work alongside our costume shop team made up of local artisans who are building more than 80 costumes from scratch, and work in our scene shop with the designers and production team to build the sets for this new production. To be able to create all of this within our very own walls is a ‘dream’ unto itself.”

You can catch a Studio Spotlight preview of portions of MSND on January 31, 2020 at Ballet Arizona’s Dorrance Theatre. (Typically no costumes or sets, but almost always interviews and Q&A sessions.)

Performances with the Phoenix Symphony are scheduled February 13-16, 2020 at Phoenix Symphony Hall.


Edited by fiddleback
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2 minutes ago, fiddleback said:

Featured in the promo video is lithe, spare, and nimble Ricardo Santos

In the Napoli program, his name was listed as "Ricardo" in the Act III Solos section, and it make me smile, because he'd "arrived," like Pele or Prince or Madonna.  His dancing was terrific.

This is a fabulous trailer!  I wish I could travel to see it, but I had to choose between Napoli and A Midsummer Night's Dream, which I hope to see when Ballet Arizona does it again.  I'm thrilled for the Costume Shop: creating a set of costumes for the first time is such a source of accomplishment and pride, and they will learn a ton for the future.  The sketches look gorgeous.

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Here's an interesting blog post about costume designer Fabio Toblini, and how he worked with AD Ib Andersen in creating MSND costumes:


And an interesting excerpt on minor character Hippolyta:


"I mentioned Hippolyta, well who is she? She is a queen, she is a slave, she has been captured, and now she is going to get married. If you look at the first few verses of the play, you have Theseus saying, and I am paraphrasing, “Oh don’t worry Hippolyta, I’ve killed all your family and all your people, but don’t worry because in a couple of weeks, I am going to marry you with great pomp, so be happy.” Um okay, so how’s that working for her? I think the Hippolyta I created is quite strange, but I wanted to show that because her background and circumstances are strange. For Act I, I made her exotic but without really knowing where she came from because I didn’t want her to fit, I wanted her to have her own strong look. And then in Act II, she is getting married and going to be the queen, so she needs a beautiful dress. For that, I was inspired by Queen Elizabeth II and a dress she had worn in the 1950’s.  But those are the things you have to think about as you create and design characters and you do it for every single one." - Fabio Toblini

More costume sketches here:


The show is February 13-16, 2020 at Phoenix Symphony Hall.

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