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Show introduces students to ballet

Nikolaus Wourms (left), who plays Nick Bottom, and Emily Reed as Titania, perform in the Minnesota Ballet’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for about 1,200 elementary students from 16 Duluth and Superior schools Thursday morning at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. (Bob King / / 2
Raya Schulz (center) and Zara Hallberg, fourth-graders at Northern Lights School in Superior, watch the Minnesota Ballet perform an act of Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Thursday morning at Symphony Hall at the DECC. They both really enjoyed the show, especially the funny parts with fairy dust and the donkey. (Bob King / / 2

What does a room full of more than 1,200 Northland elementary students sound like?

Complete silence if you are at the Duluth Symphony Hall on Thursday morning awaiting a performance by the Minnesota Ballet.

The “oohs” and “ahhs” broke out once the lights came up on the woodland set used in the dance company’s spring show.

“The costumes were really pretty,” said Mia Kraker from North Shore Community School.

Students got to see about 45 minutes of the ballet’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” based on Shakespeare’s play. The show opens tonight at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for a two-night run.

Kraker has seen ballet before — in annual visits with her grandmother to see the ballet’s “Nutcracker” performances.

But for many of the students at the ritual spring showing, it will be their first time seeing a live performance, said Laura Goodman, the outreach coordinator for the Minnesota Ballet.

“I think it sparks an interest in attending,” Goodman said of the annual free student show that has taken place for more than a dozen years.

Does it inspire students to dance careers?

Kraker’s classmate, George Rolfe, said he’d certainly like to try and emulate the dancers, but knows it takes a lot of hard work.

“It seems they’re doing it so gracefully and easily,” he said. “But they have to be in great shape.”