“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Manassas Dance Company
Stonewall Jackson Senior High School
Manassas, Virginia
May 19, 2007

by George Jackson
copyright © 2007 by George Jackson

Shakespeare’s dream comedy is populated by mortal and magical beings, royals and so-called rabble. By instance or inference, there are also those in between. Similarly inclusive is Amy Grant Wolfe’s cast list for Dina Fadeyeva’s new ballet version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The many dancers on stage constitute a true spectrum of types — grown ups, teens and tots. Some are talented, some are seasoned and others seem recently trained. Nationality-wise, one could spot post-Soviets because of their pliancy and steadfast Americans of varied stock. Whichever their sort or nature, they all joined together with each other and with the Prince William Symphony in the pit to project a fortunate vision of life.

Fortunate despite any mismatches: Helena may not be meant for Lysander, nor Hermia for Demetrius but a little meddling in the form of magic (i.e., art) can set things right, Shakespeare seems to be saying. Is the Bard telling us too — when, temporarily, he pairs Titania and Bottom - that art can also cause trouble?

Not mismatched in the least were Alexandru Glusacov and the role of Puck. As the impish troubleshooter/troublemaker, Glusacov was the production’s star. He’s agile, gives bravura steps an effervescence if not always a perfect polish, and conveys utterly the relish of bursting onto the stage, bounding thru the action and departing with flourishes that promise he’ll be back. One missed him during the first part of Act 2, after plot lines had been resolved and marriages were being celebrated, but this Puck did make a welcome comeback before the final curtain fell.

Fadeyeva’s “Dream” is in the tradition of George Balanchine’s well-known version yet isn’t copycat. Oberon isn’t characterized as powerful and autocratic. Rather, he’s petulant and sentimental. The scene in Titania’s bower is to different Mendelssohn music and provides insight into her being. The story’s knots are untied with less mad fuss. The lengthy Act 2 divertissement is danced by Shakespeare’s principal pairs plus corps, not by entertainers. Overall, Fadeyeva conveys the plot clearly through action and mime, deploys well-crafted neoclassical dancing, never lets the impetus sag and gives her most imaginative choreography to Titania and attendants in the bower. 

To fill principal roles the Manassas Dance Company, during Amy Grant Wolfe’s years at the helm, has been using increasing numbers of dancers from the Soviet tradition. This cast had five such men: Vadim Burciu (from Moldova) as Oberon; Aleksey Kudrin (from Perm, Russia) as Demetrius; Vadim  Slatvitskiy (from Novosibirsk, Russia) as Lysander; Evgueni Tourdiev (Perm trained) as Theseus; and not least the Puck — “Sasha”  Glusacov (from Moldova). One of the lead women also is Soviet styled, Daria Sokolova (from Moscow, Russia), danced Titania. So is choreographer and ballet mistress Fadeyeva (from Kazakhstan). American women in prominent parts included Sara Gaydash (Hippolyta), Leanne Mizzoni (Helena), Christina Stockdale (Butterfly), Amy Grant Wolfe (Hermia) and Rachel Blyth Marlan, Elizabeth Nahser and Mexico’s Melissa Zoebisch. Christopher Hite conducted.

In preparation for the Manassas Opera House (construction is about to start) and for its own future, it was announced by executive director Mark Wolfe that the Manassas Dance Company will change its name already next season to Manassas Ballet Theatre.  

Photo by Bill Helfriich.              

Volume 5, No. 21
May 14, 2007

copyright ©2007 by George Jackson

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