The immortal words of Shakespeare’s star-cross’d lovers have been spoken for centuries on stages throughout the world, becoming a tragedy with which we’re intimately familiar. In the world of ballet, the feuding families, young lovers, and violent end has been stirring hearts as far back as 1785, fostering its own iconic history. It is a rarity for a production to successfully forego the traditions of this classic story to present it anew, to draw audiences in as if they’d never guess the infamous outcome, yet it has just been done.
The Grand Rapids Ballet Company closes its accomplished season with famed choreographer Mario Radacovsky’s Romeo & Juliet. There is nothing Elizabethan about this ballet. There are no men in tights, ornate gowns, or even a balcony. And that’s perfectly splendid. With dynamic choreography, phenomenal staging, and simplistic costumes, Radacovsky has stripped the story of its frills, allowing the audience to see the young pair not as “Romeo & Juliet,” but simply two people experiencing true love for the first time.
The hard work of the cast is evident with every movement. Kyohei Giovanni Yoshida as Mercutio and Leonid Flegmatov as Tybalt nearly steal the show with their brawl. Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s Artistic Director Patricia Barker is divinely stoic as Lady Capulet. Yet it was Stephen Sanford and Rachael Riley in the title roles that left you simply and utterly breathless.
The experience provided by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company in Romeo & Juliet comes once in a lifetime, amplified by the intimacy of the Peter Martin Wege Theatre. Tickets are still available for this weekend’s shows.Visit www.grballet.com for more information.
A Shakespearean high five,