On Sunday, March 24, 2013, ESU members and guests braved a third winter snow storm to attend a matinee performance of an original ballet work inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream—based on Shakespeare's timeless comedy about the romantic misadventures of two mortal couples and the king and queen of the fairies.
It is believed the original Shakespeare play was commissioned especially for a wedding celebration of an aristocratic couple around 1595. Despite the title, the action lies in springtime, beginning close to May Day; though set in and near Athens, it is purely English in character. The mortals in the play are like those whom Shakespeare encountered in ordinary life.
Created and choreographed by KC Ballet's Artistic Director, William Whitener, the ballet included the entire ballet company, two actors and a chorus of singers. There were spoken excerpts from Shakespeare's play, a host of familiar characters and 11 KC Ballet students performing on stage at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center.
The Kansas City Symphony performed Mendelssohn's captivating score of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The program also included two other ballet performances: Concerto Grosso, choreography by Toni Pimble and music by Ernest Bloch and Splendid Isolation III, choreography by Jessica Lang and music by Gustav Mahler.
The ESU group attended a pre-curtain talk about the ballet led by William Whitener, the KC Ballet's Artistic Director. After the talk, the ESU group gathered with Whitener for a group photo: