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Ballets: Midsummer Night's Dream

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Our small ballet company is going to be performing the Fairy Dream scene/sequence from Midsummer Night's Dream after not being able to cast a strong enough male dancer as Demetrius. Does anyone know the length of this part of the ballet?

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Seeing as the most famous ballet version of this story is Balanchine's version, if you don't have the approval of the Balanchine Trust, it's no length at all.


If you're doing your director's own setting of it, then it can be any length at all. Balanchine padded out the original Mendelssohn music to the play with other Mendelssohn.

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I am familiar with the play, but have no idea of the ballet. How long is the Balanchine version of the fairy sequence? The local company has cast fairies, Oberon, Titania, Puck, and Actors. I can't figure out what this will translate to, or how long the scene can be. I suspect it's the AD's translation (as fairy bugs are cast, to include the younger dancers in the area), but how does one get approval from the Balanchine Trust? Who do they normally approve?

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The Balanchine Trust only controls Balanchine's choreography. The concept of using the play as a base libretto for a ballet is not under their control. Even to the Mendelssohn music. That you have to hold for a suitable Demetrius is a sign that your director has a vision not like Balanchine's. In his version, Demetrius and Lysander are pretty much ciphers, when it comes to technical dancing. The Forest Sequence is Act I of his two-act show, and it lasts a little shy of an hour, if I time out all the music that's used in that act. I don't have access to an accurate timing of the ballet by act. The "Dream" part, where people are asleep, and wake up to attach to the wrong people is a little more than half the length of the act.

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Thanks, Mel. Your response is very interesting, as our AD was a principal for Balanchine. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out.

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I love Balanchine's version too, but as to agreeing it is the most famous... What about Ashton's superb version which is in the repertoire of many international ballet companies? Both the Mendelssohn music and the story are in the public domain, so basically you can choreograph your own ballet to suit your dancers.

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But the score to "The Dream" is custom-arranged by John Lanchbery. It makes a lot of cuts and repeats that you can't make with a recorded version of the score of the incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. It has never been recorded, to my knowledge.

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