Apr 22, 2014

The Midsummer Night's Dream Ballets

I love Shakespeare, the original gay poet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favorite play. Fairy king Oberon fights with his wife over a boy that they both want -- can you get any more explicit?  Puck, the Lord of Misrule, fools around with four mortals, making them fall in and out of love at random.  Meanwhile, some tradesmen are putting on a play of their own, about Pyramis and Thisbe, ancient Greek lovers who had to communicate through a wall (and they cast the wall).

Besides, Puck is usually naked, and the other male dancers clad in Elizabethan tights, complete with codpieces (unless they are impressively endowed without one).

There are two ballet versions.  The 1962 A Midsummer Night's Dream, was choreographed by George Balanchine, with music by Felix Mendelsson.  It follows the basic plot for awhile, but then gets clogged down in a bizarre, heterosexist wedding dance.

The Dream (1964), choreographed by Frederick Ashton, discards the subplots to concentrate on Puck manipulating the love lives of fairies and mortals.  It's considerably more homoerotic, as Puck grabs and fiddles with the male cast members, most of whom aren't wearing much.

They end up in heteronormative pairs: "Jack shall have Jill, all shall be well."

But until that moment, it's a wild ride.

In case you were wondering, the Pucks are: Mathias Dingman, Kyle Slade, Valentino Zuchetti, Lucas Hall, and Ramon Moreno.

See also: Shakespeare, the Original Gay Poet; and Midsummer Night's Dream: the Stage Versions.