A Midsummer Night's Dream Come True

Houston Ballet's González in the studio. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet's season opener, A Midsummer Night's Dream by John Neumeier (Sept. 4-14), marks many spectacular firsts. Not only is it the company's first Neumeier ballet, but it will be the first production of his Midsummer danced by an American company. For Pointe's biweekly newsletter, we spoke with principal Karina González about learning the role of Titania.


How have rehearsals been going?
They've been amazing. It's my first time working with Neumeier, and I'd been dreaming of working with him for so long. In our first rehearsal with him, he spent almost an hour explaining the characters and the story from beginning to end. But he said that he didn't create the ballet exactly by the book. It was more about the feeling that he had when he watched the play of Midsummer. It's very interesting to work with him because he wants to see both who you are as a dancer and who you are in your character.

 

How would you describe Neumeier's version of Titania?
He created two very different worlds for her. In the first act she starts as this beautiful queen, very elegant and regal and her steps are balletic and pretty. And then when she falls asleep and enters the magic world of the dream, it's like she becomes a creature. I think she's a little animalistic. In other versions, I feel like you wait for the fairies with glitter and wings, but here she is a creature in a unitard, grounded and powerful.

What has been most challenging part of the process?
I'm the kind of dancer--I'm not sure whether it's good or bad--that first needs to get the steps, the counts, the musicality before I give you feelings and character. Neumeier and the stagers want us to find the character first. In rehearsals, we have an hour to learn a pas de deux, and they tell you the story and the feeling that you need to have. And I'm like, Okay, give me a second to figure it out first, and then I can give you my everything.


What advice would you give to aspiring professionals who are learning a role for the first time?

I always say that you need to be like a sponge in the studio. In this process, I learned that you have to be really patient with yourself--you're going to need time to get the steps. I also like to do a little homework. Go home and repeat the steps in your head, and if you have videos of the ballet, watch them over and over. Then, the next day, it doesn't feel new anymore. You already have it in your body, so you can continue working on new things.

 

For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Theresa Ruth Howard's leadership spurred ballet companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet to pledge #BalletRelevesForBlackLives. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks