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Dancers deliver Shakespeare comedy

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The New York State Ballet will present William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, at 2:00 p.m. at the Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester.

Ballet Master Robert Royce, Tayla Kelley – who plays Hermia, and Youri Spindler – who plays Lysander – discussed the upcoming performance Tuesday during News 8 at Noon.

“I don’t know what Shakespeare was thinking when he wrote “Midsummer,” but I think he probably picked a little bit of every story he ever wanted to write and put them in one,” said Royce. “It’s a wonderful story of love and antics from our fairy kingdom, and just the wonderful play that we get to have between all of these lovers that get all twisted around by Puck and Titania – the fairy goddess who ends up falling in love with a donkey. It’s just a really great story to have a good fun time and come to the ballet and see.”

For Kelley, the storyline puts her character into a dizzying spin. “I play Hermia and I am Lysander’s lover,” she explained. “We’re very in love in the beginning, and Hermia’s kind of just like, ditzy, happy. The other lover, Demetrius, he is very in love with Hermia as well, and she kind of just brushes him off like – I don’t want anything to do with you. Then Puck switches everything around and both of them fall out of love with her and in love with Helena, and she’s kind of just very confused the whole time. She’s not really sure what happened. But, in the end, she falls back in love with him and he falls back in love with her and it’s a happy ending.”

Spindler said conveying the comedic twists through dance is a challenge and joy. “I think that we really use comedy to make this story come to life and we have a lot of fun doing it. It’s, it’s really a lot of slapstick. It’s a lot of classic ballet. it’s all mixed together. It’s really fun.”

Royce added, “It’s been really great to be able to bring classical ballet into the story and then also, like Youri had mentioned, it’s a little Keystone Cops. I mean we’ve had a really good time and I think it’s been a challenge for the dancers in that way. To be able to keep these characters through the dance steps, which is something we always do, and then have these great moments of pure acting that are just as funny as I could possibly make them as we created this ballet.”

For a fun afternoon at the ballet get your tickets for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by calling (800) 838-3006 or visit NewYorkStateBallet.org.

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