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The Joffrey Ballet boldly closes its 2017-18 season with the North American premiere of Midsummer Night’s Dream by internationally renowned Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman this spring. A full-length contemporary ballet vastly different from Shakespeare’s tale, this fully immersive theatrical is an uproarious celebration of mystery, adventure and love.
“Alexander Ekman is an astounding modern trailblazer,” noted Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater. “This production is unlike anything audiences have seen in ballet today, mixing together the bold performance elements Ekman is most known for to create a truly theatrical performance. This year, we have elevated our commitment to dynamic performances and transformative storytelling, and I am thrilled to end our season with his larger-than-life Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Midsummer features a commissioned score by Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson, who has partnered with Ekman on several major works, including his popular contemporary work, Tulle. Karlsson’s original score will be performed live by members of the Chicago Philharmonic. Swedish indie rock group Anna von Hausswolff will also join the Joffrey dancers on-stage to perform three songs for Ekman’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, live at every performance. Von Hausswolff is best known for pushing the limits of metal, experimental pop and progressive rock.
A production in two acts with costumes by Bregje van Balen (former dancer with Nederlands Dance Theatre) and original set/lighting designs by Linus Fellbom (credited with more than 180 productions, including the World Tour for Swedish rock band Refused), Midsummer Night’s Dream made its world premiere with The Royal Swedish Ballet in 2015 and is widely considered Ekman’s wildest and most daring production. Ekman’s ode to the longest day of the year follows a traditional Midsummer festival—from a passionate, lively celebration by day to a whirlwind dream by night.
Ekman has been celebrated around the globe for his originality and humor. He has collaborated with companies worldwide to create award-winning works that both entertain and challenge the observer. This will be the fourth work by Ekman that The Joffrey Ballet has performed; most recently, Ekman staged the world premiere of his critically-acclaimed Joy on the Joffrey in April 2017. Past performances include the Chicago Premieres of Tulle in 2015, along with the wild and rhythmic Episode 31during the 2013 Chicago Dancing Festival.
Midsummer Night’s Dream will be presented in 10 performances, April 25-May 6, 2018. Visit auditoriumtheatre.org for more information or for tickets.
Alexander Ekman's Midsummer Night's Dream (photo by Hans Nilsson/Royal Swedish Opera).