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Los Angeles Ballet Academy enchants Glendale with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

The Los Angeles Ballet Academy is returning to the Alex Theatre for a weekend of dream-like performances by young dancers.

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In a collaboration with the school’s nonprofit Los Angeles Youth Ballet, dancers ages 7 to 18 will give a mixed performance called “Dream Elements,” featuring jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and tap dancing at 7 p.m. Saturday.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, dancers will get into costume as fairies, critters, kings and queens to perform Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

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For the Sunday finale, performers will tell Shakespeare’s colorful story about fairies that become entangled with mortals through dance. And as in all good stories, everyone will live happily ever after — the show will conclude with a grand wedding for the fairy king and queen, said Andrea Paris-Gutierrez, the school’s director.

“It has some really comedic and fun moments to it, but there’s also this beautiful look of it,” she said. “In the forest are all these creatures — lady bugs, butterflies, caterpillars — so for children to participate, it’s very fantastical.”

The children get the opportunity to dance alongside older, more advanced students, which Paris-Gutierrez said makes for a more interesting show for both performers and the audience.

“A performance should be an emotionally moving experience,” she said. “I think that’s a very inspiring environment to be in for both sides — for the older students to interact with the little ones and for the little ones to see what it’s going to look like if you stick with it.”

The L.A. Ballet Academy has been presenting performances at the Alex Theatre, which Paris-Gutierrez called a “jewel,” for five years. In that time frame, the school’s enrollment has doubled to 550 students. It will soon launch a year-round training program for students on track to pursue a career in professional ballet.

The Alex seats about 1,400 people and has undergone a renovation of its backstage area. The spacious dressing areas, and the theater’s vintage feel makes it an ideal venue, Paris-Gutierrez said.

The Los Angeles Ballet Academy’s next performance at the theater will be on Dec. 21 for its second performance of “The Nutcracker.”

For more information about the Los Angeles Ballet Academy and its performances this weekend, visit www.alextheatre.org.

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