A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by State Street
At the Lobero Theatre, Sunday, April 2.
Reviewed by Felicia M. Tomasko
While spring is often the time for new beginnings, State Street
Ballet’s spring performance marks the end of its season. For the
final performance of its 12th year, the company presented a mixed
repertoire. The program included an adaptation of Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by the ballet’s
Artistic Director Rodney Gustafson, as well as three renowned
classical pieces: a selection from the 19th century,
Esmeralda; the celebratory closing pas de deux
from Flames of Paris; and Gsovsky’s Grand Pas
The variation in the program allowed the company to showcase the
dancers’ skills in the three initial dances, particularly their
ease in flying, and in several series of dizzying chained turning
fouettés. Esmeralda portrayed a gypsy spirit with
a flirtatious pas de deux danced by Ming Chang and Corina
Gill, a strong addition to the company this year. The dancers’ use
of the tambourine, although choreographically interesting, was
inconsistent in its coordination with the music, and there were
times when it was a distraction.
The energetic pas de deux from the Flames of
Paris, celebrating the French Revolution, was performed by
Silvia Rotaru and Sergei Domrachev. It was a delight to see
Domrachev dance a serious role and display his ease partnering the
always-graceful Rotaru. Jennifer Rowe and Ryan Camou’s Grand
Pas Classique demonstrated a palpable chemistry. Rowe shone
gloriously in a rare appearance on stage alone.
While the first half of the program favored technique, the
second focused on evocative storytelling. The Midsummer Night’s
Dream’s entrancing stage set took the audience into the
story’s fairy-tale world of enchantment, love, playacting, and
mistaken identities. Rotaru and Camou were gorgeous as the feuding
Titania and Oberon, and Sergei Domrachev was humorous as Bottom.
Eduardo Zuniga was sprightly as a mischievous Puck. The two
lovestruck couples, Autumn Eckman and Scott Pascal, along with
Chang and Gill, were alternately playful and heartbroken as they
courted. Tivoli Evans had a graceful presence as the changeling
child who initiates the row between Titania and Oberon. Although
beautifully danced and staged, the resolution at the end of the
dream was too prolonged, diluting the strength of the earlier
imagery. Unfortunately, State Street’s next season in Santa Barbara
won’t begin until the fall, when a new repertoire will be unveiled.
With any luck, next year’s company will be even better than this
year’s strong corps.