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A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Submitted. Shakespeare’s play is delightfully re-imagined in new, full-length ballet Coastal City Ballet, a pre-professional ballet company established in the fall of 2011, presents a newly commissioned choreographic vision of Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, May 5 at 7:30pm at The ACT in Maple Ridge and May 7 at
7:30pm at The Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. Set to Felix Mendelssohn’s
beautiful music, the enchanting full-length ballet is choreographed by Irene Schneider,
former Artistic Director of Germany’s Magdeburg Ballet, and features students from
throughout the Lower Mainland.
“Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is among his most beloved plays,” says Li
Yaming, CCB Artistic Director. “His beautiful words dance on the page with their
depictions of impassioned lovers, graceful fairies, and harrowing forest chases. With this production, we aim to translate the elegance of his language into the joyous,
expressive form that is dance.”
Perfect for families and children of all ages, Coastal City Ballet’s full-length version of the
adventurous tale features lavish sets, spritely costumes, and Felix Mendelssohn’s utterly enchanting score.
The ballet will be brought to life by the Coastal City Ballet company
dancers, as well as local dance students from throughout the Lower Mainland.
The ballet’s story is one of magic, mischief, and mistaken identities. Two sets of lovers
have fled the city for the forest where they become entangled in a lover’s quarrel
between the Fairy King and Queen. Matters swiftly become more complicated with the
introduction of the incorrigible Puck, a haphazardly applied love potion, and a crew of rough craftsmen attempting to rehearse a play. In the end, naturally, love conquers all
and each character enjoys their happy ending.
To create the playful, magical work, Coastal City Ballet has commissioned Irene
Schneider, former Artistic Director of Germany’s Magdeburg Ballet. Schneider previously worked with Coastal City Ballet when she created last year’s production of Hansel and
Gretel, which played to audience acclaim in Maple Ridge and North Vancouver.
About Coastal City Ballet
Coastal City Ballet is a pre-professional ballet company located in Vancouver, BC,
providing young aspiring dancers with professional-level performance and training
opportunities in preparation for a career in dance.
Company members maintain a rigorous training schedule modeled on that of professional ballet company with daily class, rehearsals, and scheduled performances throughout the season.
Coastal City Ballet’s repertoire includes neoclassical and classical ballet commissions, as well the development of story ballets, and contemporary works.
The artistic staff is led by Artistic Director Li Yaming, and is comprised of well-known and highly respected dance professionals from throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Coastal City Ballet is honored to have Johnny W. Chang, of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, among others, on its Artistic Advisory Committee.
An Interview With Kaela WilleyToday Media: You’ve been dancing since you were three. What has given you the strength to stick with dance and work so hard at it?
Kaela Willey: Dance has always been something I’ve deeply loved. As a young girl I participated in other activities such as gymnastics, swimming, and music, but I always had this desire to dance and express myself through movement that is almost instinctual.
To put it simply, I dance because there is no other option or choice for me. I can’t imagine any other life.
TM: What would you say you get out of dance? Why is it rewarding?
KW: Dance is emotionally very rewarding in the sense that I am able to express and create with my physical movement; it is a way to connect with other people.
As well, it’s physically very good for you. The level of well-rounded exercise I get everyday is really great for my body. I always feel healthy!
TM: Not all dancers can choreograph. What is different about your choreography?
KW: When I choreograph, I pull from real life experiences and emotions. It is expressive and embodies the different layers of the music chosen. I also try my best to implement my dancers’ (or my own) abilities that come with their body and movement style. It makes the choreography specially tailored to them!
KW: Choosing a path where I focus mainly on ballet (with some contemporary, of course) was not a decision made when I was young! I enjoyed all styles and trained equally in jazz, hip hop and ballet, years ago.
Then, I went on a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia and saw Swan Lake for the first time, and I fell in love with ballet.
Though an extremely technical form of dance, I discovered just how free and expressive it really was that night, watching Odette delicately fly across the stage, every emotion clear to me.
I knew in my heart that one day that would be me, and ever since I’ve pursued ballet.
TM: Is your poetry similar to your dance?
KW: I would say my poetry is similar to my dancing. It is subtle. I’m not the type to shove a message or meaning down anyone’s throat… Quietly, I make myself understood.
TM: If you could say anything you want to the world what would you say?
KW: If I could say anything I wanted to the world, I would say: be passionate, and don’t give up. I’ve learned that while mastering the art and athleticism of ballet is extremely difficult, it is absolutely worth the time and energy because I’m in love with it. I encourage everyone to apply this to their own goals, no matter how big they are or impossible they seem. It’s worth it if you are passionate.
Cover Photo: Langley’s Kaela Willey