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As the holiday season begins, its Midsummer time

The Portland Ballet will present John Cliffords A Midsummer Nights Dream this weekend


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: BLAINE TRUITT COVERT - Lake Oswego dancer Julia Bullard, on left, is a Youth Company Apprentice with The Portland Ballet. She will appear as a Dragonfly in the upcoming production of John Clifford's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,'opening Friday and running through the weekend. The Portland Ballet will present its holiday traditional production of John Clifford’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Nov. 23, 24 and 25 at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave., Portland. The production is in collaboration with the PSU orchestra and opera singers Hannah Consenz, soprano, and Megan Matton, mezzo-soprano, who will perform Mendelssohn’s music live at every performance.

With its music, whimsical costumes, cast of 80 and choreography that is at once fleet-footed, challenging and amusing, The Portland Ballet’s production has already proven to be a critically praised audience pleaser. Live music and song is but one professional hallmark of the major annual holiday production. Others include Mary Muhlbach’s imaginative costumes, Liliya Drubetskaya’s enchanged-forest set and Michael Mazzola’s lighting.

“I think the audience will love the fact that our production is a change of pace from ‘Nutcracker,’” said Nancy Davis, artistic director for TPB. “And no one minds reminders of summer any time of the year!”

This year TPB Youth Company, apprentices and dancers are joined by two guest artists: Alex Castillo from Los Angeles Ballet, in the danseur noble role of Theseus, and Josh Murry, from Body Vox 2, reprising his role as the bumbling yet touching Bottom, a wine-drunk ruffian turned love-drunk donkey.

Many Lake Oswego dancers are included in the production, including Julia Bullard, a Lake Oswego High School freshman. Bullard started dancing when she was 4 and has been dancing with TPB since she was 6. She has dedicated herself to perfecting her technique, attending summer intensive classes at Ballet West and TPB’s summer intensive sessions and masters workshop. She became a Youth Company Apprentice with TPB earlier this year.

“It has been such a pleasure to watch Julia grow as a dancer technically in her classes and artistically from her stage experience over the years in The Portland Ballet’s holiday performances,” said Davis. “Julia has been with us for eight years now and every year she earns a better and harder role in our productions. The dancers love that carrot in front of them as they strive and dream of having that big lead one day.”

In last year’s production Bullard danced the role of an Attendant to Titania; this year she will appear as a Dragonfly.

“I am very excited to take on new dances and a new role,” she said. “And the audience will love the costumes!”

Other Lake Oswego dancers in the production include Hallinan student Lily Rodgers as a Purple Beetle and her father, Jason Rodgers, as an escort; brothers Joaquin and Sebastian Pacheco as Bumble Bees; and LOHS junior Ruby King as a Courtier and Titania’s Attendant.

“I hope the audience takes away with them a feeling of pleasure after having watched young, talented pre-professional dancers perform a high-quality production, with live music and singing,” Davis said. “I feel this has to be a very satisfying experience for all ages of theatergoers that attend our performances.”

A preview performance is scheduled for Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.; tickets are $10 for youths and $25 general admission.

For the opening night performance Friday at 7:30 p.m. and performances Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 4 p.m., admission is $15 for youths, $35 general admission. A family package is available for $90, which admits two adults and two youths. Additional youths can be added for $10.

Tickets are available online at theportlandballet.org or by calling the PSU box office at 503-452-8448.