I don’t like traditional ballet nor do I like traditional Shakespeare, so when I saw that Midsummer Night’s Dream was on at the theatre I decided to challenge myself.
And if I am honest, I didn’t enjoy the performance- perhaps I am not well educated in the art of ballet but for me it was just too classical.
Dance should be accessible for all audiences no matter if they have never seen the story or have any experience/ knowledge of Shakespeare. They should still be able to engage with the story.
Sad to say I struggled with the story, finding it hard to follow what was going on – I was at a complete loss. I did know the story of Midsummer Night’s Dream from when I was at school but I just didn’t see it in this particular version.
The piece was slow and staccato and I was waiting for the energy to kick in but there was no change in dynamic.
Being ballet, the dancers wore ballet shoes but some also wore boots/clogs for a character- this distracted me as I could hear the constant noise of the wooden blocs and the clogs banging on the stage. It ruined the beautiful music that was being played in the background.
Speaking of background, I did enjoy the digital screening that was being projected on to the back of the stage to create the scene. It was beautiful-creating this mystical and magical atmosphere that is needed for this story.
There were also comedic elements that were in this story and worked well in the performance. Particularity with the character of Bottom- I don’t think I will ever forget seeing a donkey wear a motorbike helmet with a bedazzled leather jacket. The costume department definitely exceeded themselves.
I tried so hard to force myself to engage with the ballet but for me it wasn’t exciting or innovate. Safe to say my opinion of ballet and Shakespeare is still yet to change.