A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | RENEW
April 22-24 & April 29-May 1, 2022 at Peter Martin Wege Theatre
Enjoy Shakespeare’s comedic tale of whimsy and love with renewed excitement, as Grand Rapids Ballet performs A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a story full of magical spells cast by Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, and the infamous mischief-making Puck. Choreographed by Christopher Stowell, associate director of the National Ballet of Canada, with music by Felix Mendelssohn, company dancers are accompanied by Grand Rapids Ballet School students, transforming into fairies, butterflies, and mystical characters, enchanting the audience with spells of our own. We also pay homage to George Balanchine, performing the timeless, classical work, Serenade, with music by Tchaikovsky, known as his first ballet made in America. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is sponsored by Mary Yurko and Mark Gurney.
We welcome you to explore all of our 2021-22 season performances via Ticketmaster using the red button below or by specific performance dates and times using the dropdown below!
Friday, April 22, 2022
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Friday, April 29, 2022
Saturday, April 30, 2022
Sunday, May 1, 2022
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | SNEAK PEEK
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | COUNTDOWN
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM | CREATORS
Christopher Stowell, Associate Artistic Director at The National Ballet of Canada, is the son of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, and was born in New York City and received his training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. In 1985, he joined San Francisco Ballet where he danced for 16 years, appearing in theatres throughout the world including the Paris Opéra Ballet, New York’s Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. As a Principal Dancer, Mr. Stowell performed leading roles in the full-length classics Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, La Fille mal Gardee and Othello, and had roles created for him by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, as well as contemporary choreographers including Mark Morris, William Forsythe and James Kudelka. An established interpreter of the George Balanchine repertoire, Mr. Stowell appeared in almost every Balanchine ballet performed by San Francisco Ballet.
In 2003, Mr. Stowell was named the Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT), a position he held until 2012. During his tenure Mr. Stowell made significant additions to OBT’s repertoire, bringing to Portland works from some of the world’s most celebrated choreographers, including Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Helgi Tomasson, James Kudelka, Christopher Wheeldon and Lar Lubovitch.
Mr. Stowell has taught and coached in San Francisco, New York, Japan, China and across Europe. He has created works for San Francisco Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Diablo Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet as well as the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute. He has also staged the works of George Balanchine, Mark Morris and Christopher Wheeldon. In addition to serving as Ballet Master and Assistant to the Artistic Director at San Francisco Ballet for the 2014/15 season, he recently worked in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Beijing and Copenhagen, and created his first work for Los Angeles Ballet and his first film for the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. In 2017, Mr. Stowell joined The National Ballet of Canada as Associate Artistic Director. In this role, he oversees the Artistic staff, teaches, coaches and stages works for the company and works closely with Karen Kain in realizing her vision for the National Ballet. Mr. Stowell is a member of the creative team for Ms. Kain’s new production of Swan Lake which will premiere in June 2020.
German Romantic composer, pianist and conductor Felix Mendelssohn wrote the Overture to a ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music. German composer Felix Mendelssohn made his public debut in Berlin at just 9 years old. In 1819, he joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. At Singakademie, he also became a conductor but continued to compose prolifically. Mendelssohn founded the Leipzig Conservatory of Music in 1843. In 1819, Mendelssohn joined the Singakademie music academy and began composing non-stop. In 1820 alone, he wrote a violin sonata, two piano sonatas, multiple songs, a cantata, a brief opera and a male quartet. In 1826, Mendelssohn produced one of his best known works, Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream. He presented his opera The Marriage of the Camacho, the following year in Berlin. It was the only opera of his performed in public during his life.
Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. He came to the United States in late 1933, at the age of 29, accepting the invitation of the young American arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907-1996), whose great passions included the dream of creating a ballet company in America. At Balanchine’s behest, the School of American Ballet was founded in 1934, the first product of the Balanchine-Kirstein collaboration. Several ballet companies directed by the two were created and dissolved in the years that followed, while Balanchine found other outlets for his choreography. Eventually, with a performance on October 11, 1948, New York City Ballet was born. Balanchine served as its ballet master and principal choreographer from 1948 until his death in 1983.
Balanchine’s more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Conce
A major artistic figure of the twentieth century, Balanchine revolutionized the look of classical ballet. Taking classicism as his base, he heightened, quickened, expanded, streamlined, and even inverted the fundamentals of the 400-year-old language of academic dance. This had an inestimable influence on the growth of dance in America. Although at first his style seemed particularly suited to the energy and speed of American dancers, especially those he trained, his ballets are now performed by all the major classical ballet companies throughout the world.
Peter (Pyotr) Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, and chamber music. Tchaikovsky was born on May 7th, 1840 in Votkinsk, a small town in the Russian Empire. He displayed exceptional musical ability from an early age, improvising at the piano and composing his first song in 1844, aged four. Tchaikovsky persuaded his father that music was his future and he began composition lessons with Anton Rubinstein in 1861. Between 1871 and 1876 he produced a series of great works, including Swan Lake (1876) and the First Piano Concerto (1875), which established him as Russia’s leading composer. By 1887, he was conducting his own music to great acclaim and producing such works as the Sixth Symphony, the ‘Pathetique’ in 1893 (the year of his death), and the ballets The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and The Nutcracker (1892).