12 Fun Facts About A Midsummer Night’s Dream

PNB’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was the first major story ballet by George Balanchine to be completely redesigned with the approval of The George Balanchine Trust.

Who could say no to this scenery? Photo by Angela Sterling.

The scenery and costumes, designed by Martin Pakledinaz, were influenced by 19th-century English and Italian Renaissance designs.

Tutus take the stage in Act II. Photo by Angela Sterling.

The process of building the scenery and creating and sewing the 115 costumes worn in A Midsummer Night’s Dream took more than a year.

“These costumes took how long? Better not spill anything on them.” PNB Company dancers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; photo by Angela Sterling.

The head for the character Bottom was handcrafted in New York and shipped to Seattle for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

We think we have ballet’s cutest Bottom. Photo by Angela Sterling.

More than 13,000 bugle beads were hand-sewn onto more than 250 motifs appearing on the costumes of the court attendants.

The gorgeous tutus of Act II. Photo by Lindsay Thomas.

The creation of Oberon’s crown took over 100 hours and involved more than 200 bugle beads and 40 crystal jewels which were hand-sewn onto the crown. The magic arrow used by Puck to cast his love spells is 22 feet long.

James Moore as Oberon. Photo by Lindsay Thomas.

A 12-foot spider adorns the stage in several scenes.

Look out for the giant spider! Photo by Angela Sterling.

Twenty-five Pacific Northwest Ballet School students perform with the Company dancers and Professional Division students in each performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

These bugs are much cuter than that spider. Photo by Lindsay Thomas.

The score for A Midsummer Night’s Dream comprises five different musical compositions selected by George Balanchine, all by Felix Mendelssohn.

George Balanchine performed the role of an elf in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dreamat the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg when he was 8 years old.

We don’t have any photos of Balanchine as an elf, but we think Brittany Reid’s jumps as Hippolyta are just as enchanting! Photo by Angela Sterling.

George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was premiered by New York City Ballet on January 17, 1962 at City Center of Music and Drama in New York. The production was filmed for theatrical release in 1967. PNB’s production of Midsummer was filmed by the BBC at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, in 1999 and subsequently released on DVD.

Here’s one from our archives: Patricia Barker with Timothy Lynch as Bottom. Photo by Ben Kerns.

April 12–21 at McCaw Hall

Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust.

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