Some stories are timeless. And then there’s Romeo + Juliet.
Let’s face it: Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy would be no tragedy in the age of cellphones. Without spoiling the story, let’s just say a little communication would have gone a long way towards an outcome very different than the one we’re all familiar with.
But put all that aside and you’ll enjoy the the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s version of the classic play, once brought to life by Claire Danes and Leonard DiCaprio (in Baz Luhrman’s 1996 movie version) as well as countless others.
The RWB’s take is based on choreography by Rudi van Dantzig, who created this version for the Dutch National Ballet (where he was Artistic Director). It features a Prokofiev score and highlights the artistry of the acclaimed Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers (yes, one of the coldest cities in the country has one of the most praised ballet companies).
Recognized as one of great classical ballets, Romeo + Juliet’s world premiere was presented by the Kirov Ballet in 1938. van Dantzig was among the first non-Russian creators to develop new choreography for the work, which premiered in 1967. The RWB premiered its version in 1981.
Audiences will be transported to 16th century Verona, thanks to scenery and costume design by Toer van Schayk. The role of Juliet, which has been previously performed by such luminaries as Evelyn Hart, Tara Birtwhistle, and Vanessa Lawson, will be danced by rising star and first cast Amanda Green. Liang Xing, Guest Artist from the National Ballet of China, is Romeo.
The RWB’s production of Romeo + Juliet runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (649 Cambie St.). Tickets: $29-$89 at ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-2787.