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

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

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The Royal Swedish Ballet in Alexander Ekman's "Midsummer Night's Dream." Photo by Hans Nilsson, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

This spring, The Joffrey Ballet will present the North American premiere of Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream. The Swedish choreographer is best known for his absurdist and cutting-edge productions. "This is not Shakespeare's Midsummer," says Joffrey Ballet artistic director Ashley Wheater. The title of Ekman's version, which premiered with the Royal Swedish Ballet in 2015, refers not to Shakespeare but to Midsummer, the traditional Scandinavian summer solstice festival. The piece follows a young man through a day of revelry followed by a nightmare, blurring the line with reality. "It's a kind of otherworldly dream," says Wheater.

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Ballet Stars

Summertime may be slipping away, but this clip from Sir Frederick Ashton's The Dream will transport you to a warm, enchanted summer evening. In this clip from an American Ballet Theater performance from 2004, Alessandra Ferri and Ethan Stiefel play Titania and Oberon, rulers of the woodland fairy realm from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream. At once regal and whimsical, the proud lovers reunite and make peace after a quarrel in this final pas de deux.

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When we first reported on Miami City Ballet's redesign of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, we were, to be totally honest, mostly interested in seeing the costume for the character Bottom. Why? In the MCB production, which places Oberon and Titania's kingdom underwater, Bottom is a manatee rather than a donkey. We needed to see that.

Now, for the big reveal. And he's every bit as silly and adorable as you might imagine.

(Simone Messmer and Didier Bramaz, photo by Gene Schiavone)

In addition to Bottom, the redesigned costumes—which were created by Miami Beach–born artist Michele Oka Doner—all featured underwater elements. Titania's tutu is adorned with what appears to be feathery seaweed, while Hippolyta is crowned with gold coral.

Enjoy!

 

(Simone Messmer and Reyneris Reyes, photo by Gene Schiavone)

 

(Jordan-Elizabeth Long, photo by Gene Schiavone)

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