Sunday, August 10, 2003

Midsummer Night's Dream, The Ballet (Ohio Dance Theatre)

Ohio Dance Theatre presents 'Midsummer Night's Dream: The Ballet'

Ohio Dance Theatre, which is housed in Oberlin, recently completed its inaugural summer series at the Cleveland Play House. Normally the company performs at Lorain County Community College and has developed a very large following there. According to Artistic Director Denise Gula the company attracted a new base while in residence at the nation’s oldest professional theatre. As always happens with groups new to an area it takes a while for the word to get out, so audience size was generally smaller than the company is used to getting in its “real” home. Cleveland’s economic woes, which have strongly affected other arts organizations, did not help the situation.

Founded in 1992 by Gula, the company’s mission is to “enhance the quality of life throughout the northeastern Ohio area by offering quality dance performances and educational programs.”

Due to Gula’s strong drama background as an actress and director, the company is one of the few in the country which incorporates theatricality into their program. For example, their recent production of ‘MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM’ consisted of a blend of dance and spoken dialogue.

A theatrical production in two acts, ODT’S ‘MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM’ uses as its theme the Shakespeare play of the same name. It is danced to the music of Felix Mendelssohn. Blending spoken dialogue with dance, it makes for an interesting evening of entertainment.

Allen Schissler and Jody Skye danced well as Oberon and Tatania, the king and queen of the fairies. Their closing duet was outstanding. Though he could have displayed a little more pixie quality, Alfiero Supan made a nice Puck. The Fairies formed a beautiful corps, with good point movement and excellent timing of the group movements.

Capsule judgement: Ohio Ballet Theatre is a small dance company which seems to be headed for a bright future.