Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Last night, Nick and I went to see the National Ballet of Canada’s rendition of Romeo & Juliet. I’ve never seen this Shakespearean tragedy performed onstage, but it has long inspired choreographers to adapt it for the ballet medium.

We’re fortunate to live only two blocks away from the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, and managed to grab DanceBreak tickets at a reduced student price. Karen Kain, NBC’s Artistic Director has been one of my idols since I was a little girl. I remember writing an elementary school report on her when she was still a principal dancer. Needless to say, I was exceedingly excited for the opportunity to see a performance by one of Canada’s most renown ballet companies. A bit of a ballet fanatic, I’m always on the lookout for refreshing choreography and contemporary takes on old classics. I first read the play in grade nine, and found it depressing, impractical, and a bit ridiculous. There were various aspects of the plot I couldn’t reconcile or understand. I still cringe when Romeo swallows the contents of  his own vile of poison (where did that come from anyway?) rather than waiting approximately 28 seconds for Juliet to awake. I could sit and analyze the play all day, but that’s beside the point. The ballet was outstanding and the enduring nature of its themes provide powerful characterization for the medium of dance.

I was most impressed with Keiichi Hirano, who danced the role of Mercutio. His choreography was over-the-top and creative, and he was incredibly entertaining, which provided some much needed comic relief. And boy, could he jump! I look forward to watching him dance again! Juliet, as danced by Sonia Rodriguez, was also phenomenal. She was breathtaking to watch and she executed each movement with complete grace and fluidity. Only she could make a hundred fouettés and jetés look so effortless.

You still have three opportunities to see Romeo & Juliet at the Four Seasons, get your tickets now! I can’t wait for my next NBC performance!

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