From left: Geraldine Leech as Hermia, Will McCullough as Lysander, Kevin Gardiner as Demetrius, Anna Morreale as Helena and Anna Si as Titania
Late spring has sprung in Swarthmore, bringing with her the lush flowers and the shady tree canopy and the Farmers Market, and of course, the ballet.
Sweet young love is in the air at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre and the result is not what you might think – at least not at first! Shakespeare’s classic tale of love gone wrong and then very wrong and then right again is played out with humor in this dreamy production.
The performance space at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre is not large. Most productions have ingeniously minimal set pieces. But stepping inside the theatre for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the audience is instantly transported to the enchanted wood outside Athens. A venerable oak seemingly sprouts out of the stage floor. Boulders and vines blend the lines between the upper and lower stages.
At last Saturday morning’s production, a sold-out crowd of lucky audience members young and old watched the lights go down and then Mrs. Ardis herself came out to remind us of the story of the bard’s beloved tale.
Then the lights went down and out came the elegant Trinity Clow-McLaughlin to draw us into the story with a solo accompanying a narration of the fairy’s classic over hill over dale speech.
After that the show exploded forward with bevies of fireflies and fairies setting the mood of the magical forest and making the way for the fairy royalty.
Don Guthrie danced Oberon with great dignity, and Anna Si was appropriately indignant and haughty as Titania when Guthrie slyly tried to assume custody of her sprightly changeling boy, danced by Nate Mitchell. When it was clear that the fight was on between the fairy king and queen it was time for them to make way for the lovers.
Even if it’s been a while since you read Midsummer in high school, the four lovers made their roles clear with their first rate acting and the help of gorgeous costumes that helped the audience see who was meant to be together.
Though there were many laugh-out-loud moments in this ballet, few were funnier than the pas de deux between unrequited loves. Demetrius (Kevin Gardiner) expressed dismay when he suddenly found himself dancing with a hilariously enamored Helena (Anna Morreale). And later, Lysander (Will McCullough) abandoned poor Hermia (Martine Leech) for Helena, whom he was devastated to catch dancing with Demetrius. The lovers’ fight scene was incredible too.
Of course it’s not Midsummer without Puck. Nathanial Hodges was perfectly playful and spent as much time airborne as he did on the stage. His interactions with Oberon and with his butterfly companion (Elizabth Si) were light-hearted and delightfully expressive.
Led by William Hodges as Bottom, the rude mechanicals were fantastically funny. When Puck used his magic pollen to make Titania fall in love with Bottom the whole audience held our breath in anticipation.
Anna Si is such an achingly elegant dancer. It can be all too easy to forget her silly streak. The scene where Hodges literally chews the scenery as Si falls madly in love with him, donkey ears and all was desperately funny.
But what brought down the house was the arrival of the fairy attendants to dance with Titania. One after the next they each entered gracefully for their dance, only to do a comic double-take at the shocking sight of their mistress dancing with a donkey. By the time the final fairy danced in and then wandered to the edge of the wings in confusion the audience was in stitches.
Naturally Oberon urged Puck to make things right and one by one the lovers and Titania were all made to fall in love with their right partner.
At last Hippolyta (danced with strength and passion by Maia Virgil) arrived. She and the Duchess presided over a truly lavish wedding attended by a flock of flower girls whose infectious enthusiasm brought joy to the audience as well as the couples onstage.
Lori Ardis and Amber Flynn choreograph every single ballet on the dancers, meaning that every note of this two-hour production was crafted precisely to mine the talents of the dancers at hand. The result is that every dancer onstage is stretching his or her skills to the limit. And what they can accomplish is absolutely stunning.
If you are looking for a fun and inspiring way to spend your Saturday night, rumor has it that there are a few tickets left for the 7:30pm performance. Stop by the door at 7pm to check in!
Meanwhile, if you want to be sure not to forget to snag tickets next time, why not sign up for classes at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre? Learn more on their website at http://swarthmoreballet.com.
For info on what it’s like to study Ballet at SBT, check out the post here!
The flower girls spin and smile through their enthusiastically energetic dance…
The Food Truckathon brought out Swarthmoreans & visitors to enjoy good food & company…
The hardworking students and music teachers of Swarthmore-Rutledge Elementary School hosted their final concert of the year. The auditorium was packed with fans, many of whom were willing to accept standing room space in order to enjoy the sounds of the young musicians.
Peaceful twilight in springtime Swarthmore. This beautifully repurposed sitting area by the municipal lot & library looks like it has been there forever, lampposts and all…
Would you like to learn more about life in our village? I’d love to be your Swarthmore real estate agent! Just shoot me an email at email@example.com and let me know your goals!
I’m so excited to have the opportunity to share 635 N. Chester Road with you!
This is a simple picture of the lovely view from the third floor landing overlooking the beautiful backyard.
Would you like to see the rest of the details on this stunning Center Hall Colonial in Swarthmore Borough?
The first flowers of spring poked up their heads…
And then it snowed…
But the bright blossoms preserved, and thank goodness, the tulips bloomed as beautifully as ever!
Thanks for visiting! I hope you’re enjoying springtime in Swarthmore!
If you’re hoping to move to the ville and you’re not working with a local agent, I’d love to be your Swarthmore real estate agent!
Feel free to reach out!
The lights are in the windows and the garlands embrace the lampposts. The Home for the Holidays horses pulled their sleighs past our office last weekend as the Swarthmore Ballet Theatre performed one sold out performance of The Nutcracker after another. (Pictured above, Anna Si, as the Dew Drop Fairy – check out my Letter to the Editor in this week’s edition of the Swarthmorean newspaper about this magnificent production).
Swarthmoreans seem to be focused on shopping locally this season with treasures at Harvey Oak Mercantile, Compendium with its selection of warm scarves, tasty treats at the Co-op, books and gifts at the Swarthmore College bookstore, and so many more choices all without setting foot in a mall or warming up the car!
I’ll update this post in the coming days with more pictures of our town celebrating the season! Feel free to email me your favorite Swarthmore holiday pictures and memories to be shared!
(Pictured below: Visitors to The Inn at Swarthmore this Thursday were treated to a view of snow outside and seasonal decorations inside!)
Carolers serenade the audience in line to see Swarthmore Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker…
Cornell & Rutgers is slush & ice a week and a half before Hanukkah & Christmas…
Wondering children tour Dave Augustine’s courtyard holiday light display on Park…
On one magical day of the year, Park Ave has horse-drawn carriages again…
Trees are for sale outside the library – proceeds benefit the Swarthmore Fire Station!
A young Nutcracker dancer spots the horses & Christmas trees across the street…
D. Patrick Welsh gets in on the holiday spirit!
A winter storm on 12/17 turned Swarthmore glassy and magical…
Two wonderful homes are COMING SOON in Swarthmore!
Stay tuned for information on:
207 Riverview Road, Swarthmore, PA 19081
This Victorian twin is located just half a block from the pool and a few blocks more from Swarthmore Rutledge Elementary School! The property includes a LEGAL two bedroom in-law cottage, also on the property (not for rental, only for family).
312 Dartmouth Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081
This Victorian twin is located right in the heart of the village and a block and a half away from Swarthmore Rutledge Elementary School! A wonderful opportunity for a handyman or investor, this property is being sold in as-is condition.
If you are interested in seeing 207 Riverview Rd, 19081 or 312 Dartmouth Ave, 19081 when they become available, please have your agent reach out to me!
If you are not working with an agent, feel free to connect with me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org!
We all came out to celebrate the accomplishments of Town Coordinator, Marty Speigel, pictured here with his wife, Linda Heffernan!
The Farmer’s Market is always bustling, but that was a particularly fun day as we all came out to thank Marty for his work in bringing the Farmer’s Market to Swarthmore in the first place!
A few blocks away, a deer munched on grass between the backyards. Want a look at the charming home set on a lot even the wildlife can’t resist? Check out 112 Yale Square in my “Homes For Sale” section!
The green by the library is hung in red, white and blue in preparation for the Fourth of July events!
The Veterans’ Memorial is abloom with color.