“I love the music, and the choreography from Irene (Schneider), she’s just amazing,” Oioli said in a phone interview, during rehearsals for the big-stage production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “It’s just, I’m very grateful and feel so blessed to have the chance to do this again.”
Oioli, originally from Brazil, has danced with the Vancouver-based company since 2012, and first performed a Coastal City version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream five years ago, in 2013.
The remounted show was staged at Vancouver Playhouse on May 19, and, in a season finalé for the company, is brought to Surrey Arts Centre on Friday, June 8, with close to 30 dancers moving to the music of Felix Mendelssohn.
“Because it’s a Shakespeare play, a lot of people see it as a play and not a ballet, so I think it’s very funny and very entertaining,” Oioli noted. “It’s different than our show last year, Giselle, which is a very classical ballet, so this one is a bit more free, I’d say – freestyle.
“Like, we have fairies and different scenes and different things going on,” she continued. “We have the human part with the couples and the garden scene and the marriage and stuff, and then we have the fairies…. There’s just a lot going on.”
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, two sets of lovers have fled the city for the forest, where they become entangled in a lover’s quarrel between the Fairy King and Queen. “Matters swiftly become more complicated with the introduction of the incorrigible Puck, a haphazardly applied love potion, and a crew of rough craftsmen attempting to rehearse a play,” reads a post at coastalcityballet.com. “In the end, naturally, love conquers all and each character enjoys their happy ending.”
The company bills the show as “perfect for families and children of all ages. (The) full-length version of the adventurous tale features lavish sets, spritely costumes, and Felix Mendelssohn’s utterly enchanting score.”
The ballet is brought to life by members of the company alongside local dance students from throughout the Lower Mainland who auditioned for the opportunity.
Founded in 2011, Coastal City aims to provide performance opportunities for emerging dancers, both Canadian and international, and Oioli was lured to Vancouver by Yaming himself, during a trip to Brazil several years ago.
“I was in Brazil until I was 15 or 16, and then I moved to Germany for five years, dancing there,” Oioli explained. “And then I was in Brazil for holidays and (Yaming) was in Brazil for a competition, and I was there dancing as a guest. I was helping him out with the language, because not a lot of people could speak English at that time there, so I was helping him out and took classes with him, and then he invited me to be part of the company here in Vancouver.”
Still in her 20s, Oioli said she “loves the city,” but candidly discussed the challenges of life as a dancer working and living in Vancouver.
“The company is good, and there are other good schools and companies in Vancouver, but the city is not that big and, like, the arts and dance-wise in this city, it’s not that big,” Oioli elaborated. “But in Europe, for example, every little city in Germany has its own company and they perform so much, but here it’s, like, totally different.”
So, in productions such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, dancers with Coastal City make the most of their time on stage.
“We always change casts for the two shows, to give (the dancers) a different role and a chance to perform something else,” Oioli explained. “Everybody dances a lot, so that allows everyone to show their best.”
Li Yaming, Coastal City’s artistic director, said the company is delighted to revisit German choreographer Schneider’s “magnificent” ballet.
“For this production,” Yaming said in a release, “translating the elegance of Shakespeare’s language into the joyous, expressive form that is dance, we are thrilled to welcome back a number of our graduates who now enjoy professional careers with prestigious companies across the globe. This end-of-season presentation is thus not only a celebration of our current dancers as they embark on their next steps, but also marks the triumphant return of some of our star pupils.”
At Surrey Arts Centre, tickets range from $25 to $40 for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which hits the stage at 8 p.m. June 8. For tickets, visit tickets.surrey.ca.