An ‘Enchanted’ ‘Dream’: Lehigh Valley Ballet Guild presents Shakespeare classic and new work
The comedy and misadventures written by Shakespeare, and some of Grimm’s beloved fairytale characters, will appear in the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s presentation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Enchanted Woods,” 7 p.m. June 1, Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem.
Produced by Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley Artistic Director, Karen Kroninger Knerr, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with score by Felix Mendelssohn, is based on the 1595 Shakespearean comedy about the romantic adventures, quarrels, and eventual reunion of two couples.
“We performed it [‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’] in 2013. This will be our second time performing ‘The Enchanted Woods,’” says Knerr. “‘Enchanted Woods’ is a new ballet with an original storyline. It incorporates popular fairytale characters that everyone can recognize.
“I liked the idea of using the [woods] setting,” says Knerr. “[It’s] whimsical and light-hearted and something everyone can relate to. They’re family-friendly ballets, a performance people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy.”
Knerr is known for successfully adapting her ballets to highlight the skill of the dancers. She has creatively achieved the same with the “The Enchanted Woods” characters.
“The choreography is tailored to each character and their personality. For example, the Three Goldilocks are tall, medium, and small, which is representative of the original story where there are Three Bears. Cinderella walks with an awkward gait because she only has one glass slipper, and is searching for it with the help of her friends, the mice.
“Red Riding Hood, on her way to her Grandmother’s house, finds Cinderella, who is looking for her slipper and her Prince. She then discovers three tails, which belong to the Three Blind Mice. She also finds a boot that belongs to Puss in Boots.”
The show boasts a cast of more than 60 professional, pre-professional and student performers dancers, including three guest artists: Darren McIntyre, dancing the role of Oberon; Stephaen Hood, as Demetrius, and Tevin Johnson, appearing as Puck.
McIntyre is a graduate of The Australian Ballet School where he was recipient of The Dame Peggy Van Praagh Award for Choreography, The Sir Robert Helpmann Bursary, and the Young Australian of The Year Arts Award. He has choreographed original full-length productions of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Phantom of the Opera.” He is a Ballet Master and Artistic Associate with Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Hood is a 2013 graduate of the University of the Arts with a BFA in Classical Ballet. He studied and performed with Christopher Fleming. Hood performed lead roles in “Coppelia,” “La Bayadere,” “The Nutcracker” and “Spartacus.”
Johnson received a scholarship for the Alvin Ailey Professional Division Summer Dance Intensive and received a BFA in Dance from Montclair University. Johnson was a featured young artist on “Extraordinary People and Places in Central New York.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our younger students to share the stage with our pre-professional students, to be able to learn by watching and interacting with them,” Knerr says.
In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Elizabeth Lee, a Liberty High School junior, performs the role of Titania; Malcolm Burton, a Lehigh Valley Charter School for Performing Arts senior, performs the role of Lysander; David Shively-Ertas, a Freedom High School sophomore, performs the role of Bottom; Danielle Shermock, a Pocono Mountain East High School senior, performs the role of Helena, and Emelia Belet, a Belvidere High School junior, performs the role of Hermia.
In “The Enchanted Woods, Meghan Altemose, a Saucon Valley High School senior, performs the role of Red Riding Hood; David Shively-Ertas performs the role of The Prince; Abigail Altemose, a Saucon Valley High School sophomore, performs the role of Cinderella, and Brianne Burns, a Southern Lehigh High School sophomore, performs the role of Puss in Boots.
“I’ve collaborated with our music director, Eugene Abulescu, who has composed an original score for this ballet,” says Knerr.
“Technology was very useful. I set most of the choreography to a metronome on my phone, and sent the videos to Eugene so he could begin the composition. [He] attended rehearsals, and composed accordingly. He then worked directly with the musicians in recording sessions, which will be used for the performance.”
The score includes flute, alto flute, piccolo, oboe clarinet, violin, cello, bass, piano, timpani and percussion.
“Eugene and I discovered that this collaboration exposed us to the challenge of working with each other’s art form, thus expanding our creative repertoire,” Knerr says.
More than 800 students from Title I schools are to attend the 10 a.m. June 1 student performance, free of charge, thanks to sponsors and grant providers.
For more than 50 years, Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley has provided ballet training and first-class performances with guest artists from the world’s leading ballet companies.
Students learn in a nurturing and professional environment while enjoying opportunities afforded by the best in classical ballet, jazz and modern-dance training.
BGLV utilizes the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum, a comprehensive set of age-appropriate guidelines to provide the highest quality ballet training. Pre-primary through Level 5 is taught by ABT Certified teacher and Artistic Director Karen Kroninger Knerr.
Tickets: Zoellner Arts Center box office, 420 E. Packer Avenue, Bethlehem; firstname.lastname@example.org; zoellnerartscenter.org; 610-7LU-ARTS (610-758-2787)