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UW Theatre and Dance to Present ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Invited Works’ Nov. 3-7

October 28, 2021
dancers posing on stage
UW Department of Theatre and Dance students Erin White and Rachel Golledge, both from Denver, Colo.; and Madison Drab, of Castle Rock, Colo., rehearse for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Invited Works.” The production will run live on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 3-6, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. (Donald P. Turner Photo)

The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance season continues with an evening of dance featuring an original adaptation of Shakespeare’s fantastical comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as well as a historical dance reconstruction and two new works.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Invited Works” runs live and in person on the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts main stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 3-6, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7.

Tickets are $14 for the public; $11 for senior citizens; and $7 for students. To purchase tickets, visit the Performing Arts box office, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.

Choreographed by longtime UW Professor Marsha Knight, a socially distanced version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” premiered and livestreamed this past spring when the department’s theaters went dark due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The ballet is being remounted for a live audience this fall and is the last work that will be choreographed by Knight, who will retire at the end of this academic year.

“It is with tremendous joy that we celebrate Marsha Knight’s final UW production with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’” says Margaret Wilson, the department’s chair. “Marsha has shaped the spirit and vision of the dance department for the last 30 years, impacting students’ and colleagues’ lives as a teacher, choreographer and mentor.”  

Knight’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” encompasses the entire first act of the production. The ballet depicts the romantic adventures and misadventures of two pairs of mortal lovers and a troupe of amateur actors. They are caught up in a quarrel between the king and queen of fairies, Oberon and Titania, and move between dream and reality with hilarious consequences.

Masked intrigue and the unexpected vagaries of fate take on new meaning in these challenging times, as the performers engage from their own spheres of movement, deeply connected by the elements within a strange and beautiful world, says Kathy Kirkaldie, UW Fine Arts coordinator.

“Marsha’s choreography has graced our stages with classical and contemporary work, most notably in eight productions of ‘The Nutcracker,’ a beloved community event; restaging of other well-known ballets; and intriguing and provocative contemporary work, culminating in her recent production of ‘Six Songs from Ellis,’” Wilson says. “Her dedication to the department and the craft is unsurpassed, and her unyielding demand for excellence inspires her colleagues on campus and around the country.”

The second act of the production opens with an early work from renowned choreographer Paul Taylor’s “Junction,” which was reconstructed and directed by 2021 Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival guest artists Robert and Amy Kleinendorst, both of the Paul Taylor Dance Company family.

Taylor choreographed the piece while he still was a dancer with Martha Graham, and it represents a radical shift in style from Graham.

Next is “Lush” by Cat Kamrath, an assistant lecturer in the UW Department of Theatre and Dance, and set to the music of Cristobal Tapia de Veer, Lord Huron, and Direct & Exist Strategy. The piece is dedicated to Kamrath’s teaching mentor, Cadence Whittier, who died recently.

Closing out the production is “Ready, Set, Go,” a new work by former Dance Theatre of Harlem ballet master and dancer Keith Saunders. He is a longtime Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival guest faculty member. The piece is set to “Pines and Flowers” by Italian composer Ezio Bosso.

“‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Invited Works’ is the first full-scale, live production for our academic season since spring 2020,” Wilson says. “We invite our faithful patrons back into the theater for a wonderful evening of dance as well as the opportunity to wish Marsha Knight well in the next chapter of her life. She has brought distinction to the arts at the University of Wyoming and beyond. We are enriched and honored to have her as a colleague and lifelong friend.”

For more information, call Kirkaldie at (307) 766-2160 or email kirisk@uwyo.edu.

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