Summer (Ballet) Love

Midsummer Night's Dream Clara's Coffee Break
Image by Rachel Hellwig.

Great commentary on the wedding divertissement pas de deux from Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“In this midst of all this prettiness lies a pas de deux of startling transparency. A man and a woman travel across the stage with excruciating slowness, executing the choreographic equivalent of a melody sustained on a single breath. He partners her with the lightest of touches as she turns slowly, lowering and raising one leg; or he lifts her so that she travels – or rather floats – backward through space. At one point, they glide in a diagonal, their arms gently pushing one against the other as if to propel each other forward. Every image adds up to the same idea: eternity, balance, trust.”

– Marina Harss, May 29, 2016, “New York City Ballet – Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Balanchine demonstrates the ideal of Romantic love: two anonymous dancers at the wedding divertissement dance to Mendelssohn’s string symphony No. 9. The music is high, sweet and tender; the dance seems timeless, and suspended. The opposite of the “Pyramus and Thisbe” amateur-dramatic show that Shakespeare provides at this stage in the drama, it floats above the ballet’s plot like the moon”

– Alastair Macaulay, May 23, 2016, “Love Two Ways: Ashton and Balanchine on Romance