Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Stars in Dance Theatre of PA’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by Cory Stieg for The Dance Journal
photo credit: Alexander Iziliaev

A Midsummer Night’s Dream has special meaning for Lauren Fadeley, a Pennsylvania Ballet soloist starring in Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania’s production of the two-act ballet on Sunday, April 22 at Central Bucks High School South in Warrington.

She was 11 years old when she saw the renowned New York City Ballet perform the ballet.  “I just fell in love with it,” Fadeley said. “From the music to the story and costumes, it’s just such a wonderful ballet.”

Five years later, after studying at the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York, Fadeley was hired as an apprentice for the New York City Ballet and cast as an understudy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Right before the curtain, a dancer in the corps de ballet cut herself while sewing her pointe shoes.

With little time to prepare, Fadeley had to step in. “I rushed over to the theater and they reviewed it with me quickly in my street clothes, Fadeley said. “Then I got ready and went on as one of the court couples in the second act.”

So strong was her performance that Fadeley was promoted from apprentice to a member of the corps de ballet. After an injury, however, she decided to further her academic and dance education by attending Indiana University. Pennsylvania Ballet recruited her in 2007 for its corps de ballet. Along with other Pennsylvania Ballet dancers, she performed in the Oscar-winning “Black Swan.” Last year, she was promoted to soloist and featured as Odette/Odile in the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of “Swan Lake.”

In Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fadeley will be performing the choreography of Pennsylvania Ballet alumnus Matthew Neenan.  In 2004, Neenan, co-founder of BalletX, created an original version of the ballet through funding from a competitive grant from Dance Advance, a program support by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“I love his rendition of Midsummer and his use of all levels of students,” Fadeley said. “He did a wonderful job with this production and I’m really looking forward to dancing Titania.”

Marilyn Budzynski, artistic director and founder of Dance Theatre, said Neenan’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has become “a breathtaking and defining work for our repertoire.”

“I want to continue to share his beautiful work with not only our dancers, but with audiences as well,” said Budzynski, herself a former dancer for the Pennsylvania Ballet. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream contains some of the most beautiful music ever written and combines all the classic elements of entertainment and humor.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a romantic comedy based on Shakespeare’s tale of interlocking relationships. Set in a forest inhabited with fairies and butterflies and a donkey who thinks he’s a man, the ballet features the music of Felix Mendelssohn. “It’s a delightful story ballet for all ages,” Budzynski said.

Another Pennsylvania Ballet soloist, James Ihde, will be joining Fadeley in a featured role with Dance Theatre. Also in the cast are Alex Peters, Eric Trope and Jonathan Stiles, who are current members of the Pennsylvania Ballet, as well as Christine Jones and Heidi Cruz, alumnae of the company.

Dance Theatre, of Doylestown, is a pre-professional ballet company with 40 student members. Fadeley looks forward to sharing the stage with the young dancers, who train at the company’s affiliated school, Budzynski Studios in Doylestown.

“I remember being that little girl looking up to the professionals who would come dance with us,” she said. “It’s unreal that now that’s me.”

The production will be held at noon and 4 p.m. at Central Bucks South, 1100 Folly Road in Warrington. For more information be sure to visit their website at  www.dtopa.org.