A madcap solstice celebration: The Joffrey Ballet in Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

The Standouts of 2018: The Joffrey Ballet in Alexander Ekman's "Midsummer Night's Dream"

During Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream, a singer croons: "By morning the dancers/Will start to wonder/Had it all been a dream?/Had it all been a blunder?" While The Joffrey Ballet's performances of Ekman's 2015 full-length last April were most certainly the former, they could not have been further from the latter.

Ekman's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' | Official Trailer www.youtube.com


Hostess Victoria Jaiani welcomes us and sends us on our way, humming an infectiously bright tune as she gifts the Dreamer (Temur Suluashvili) two handfuls of hay and pulls him behind the curtain. A madcap solstice celebration with no relation to Shakespeare, this Midsummer asks dancers to toe the line between daydream and nightmare, beauty and farce, whether the ensemble is joyously tossing fistfuls of hay or sliding through balletic positions with slinky control. The 40-dancer Joffrey cast met the challenge with strength and verve. Though Jaiani, Jeraldine Mendoza, Greig Matthews, April Daly and Fabrice Calmels were particularly enchanting, each person onstage was individually captivating throughout—if only the longest days of the year could stretch but a little longer.

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