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Byline: Paul Denison The Register-Guard

Eugene Ballet will open its season next weekend with a classic and a contemporary piece from its repertoire and the premiere of a modern work by a company member.

To be presented Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Hult Center, the program features "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Slipstream," both choreographed by artistic director Toni Pimble, and "Incidents & Accidents" by Melissa Nolen.

The company introduced ``A Midsummer Night's Dream'' at the Hult Center in 1985, and did it again in 1998. Pimble set William Shakespeare's romantic comedy about fairies and mortals to the well known stage music by Felix Mendelssohn, adding some music by Gioacchino Rossini and Giovanni Bottesini as well.

The roles of Titania and Oberon, feuding queen and king of the fairies, will be danced on Saturday by principal dancers Hyuk-Ku Kwon and Jennifer Martin and on Sunday by principal dancers Jon Drake and Aline Schurger, who are in their first season with the company.

Drake trained at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Vienna State Opera Ballet School in Austria. He has performed with the Dusseldorf Ballet Company and the Atlantic Southeast Ballet Company in South Carolina.

Schurger was born in Germany and trained in Nuremberg, Munich and Prague. Winner of three gold medals in international ballet competitions, she has performed with Atlantic Southeast Ballet Company and as a principal dancer with Opus M Company in Munich.

Also dancing principal roles will be Phyllis Rothwell (Hermia), Hyoung-Il Young (Lysander) and Frank Affrunti (Bottom)

Although "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a ballet that needs no introduction, the second Pimble work on the program is less familiar.

Premiered in 1999, "Slipstream" is set to music by contemporary composer Michael Nyman. A five-part piece for eight dancers, the work opens with music from a Nyman string quartet based on Indian ragas, then switches to more melodic passages from another Nyman quartet before returning to the raga music.

"The first two movements are very driven, very percussive and strong," Pimble said in a telephone interview from Boise. "The third and fourth are very melodic and adagio-like. The fifth is an allegro finale."

Pimble says the 25-minute work is just that for the dancers.

"It's a hard piece to get through, very physically demanding," she says, adding that she's "not really trying to kill them off."

Melissa Nolen's "Incidents & Accidents" is a three-movement work about a woman's experience of life, set to music by Johannes Brahms, solo piano and piano and strings.

"This is the first piece that Melissa has done for the company," Pimble says, "but I had seen her do work for young talented dancers. I was impressed by how disciplined her work was, and how well structured. I felt she would do something beautiful for the company."

Pimble says Nolen, who is in her 20s, is young to be choreographing but has been in ballet all her life and already has a "very specific style, a voice of her own."

Eugene Ballet will be on the road all over the West in November and early December, presenting "The Nutcracker" 32 times in 18 venues in seven states. Five Eugene performances are scheduled from Dec. 17 to 19 at the Hult Center.

The company's family-friendly winter show will be Bruce Steivel's ``Peter

Pan: The Ballet,'' with flying dancers, on Feb. 19 and 20.

The season finale, April 16 and 17, will be Dennis Spaight's ``Scheherazade,'' with music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (played by the University of Oregon Symphony) and scenic design by Henk Pander and Rich Young.


A Midsummer Night's Dream; Slipstream; Incidents & Accidents

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center, Seventh Avenue and Willamette Street

How much: $12 to $42 (682-5000 or

Also: Two educational performances for students in grades 3-5 and 6-8 at the Hult Center on Tuesday.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; Ballet opens season with ``Midsummer Night's Dream'' - and some newer works
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 17, 2004
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