Monday, March 23, 2009

Cool Love - Romeo and Juliet - Ballet Review

Romeo and Juliet - The National Ballet of Canada - Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts - Toronto, ON - *** (averaged, out of 5)
Choreographed by John Cranko, Music by Sergei Prokofiev, Staged by Reid Anderson, Reproduced from Benesh Notation by Jane Bourne

I'm realizing that I like the weird experimental modern ballet stuff (like the previous show Innovation) more than I do these longer romantic full storied pieces. At least these older fashioned story pieces. Even though these longer, full storied, full costumed, giant sets are the ones programmed to bring in the audience.

The company danced the Shakespeare tragedy well but I found the overall choreography a bit slow and "traditional". Though the bits with Romeo, Mercutio (Piotr Stanczyk, above) and their boys to be quite amusing and interesting. But I think half the time I was hoping they would break out into "Somewhere" and do the Dream Ballet. Of all the full costumed ballets I've seen so far, I think this one touched me the least (my favorite is still by far The Italian Straw Hat and then Cinderella, both which had a buoyancy to it).

It may have also been the chemistry between the leads. I had the wonderful Chan Hon Goh (who retires later this season) and Aleksandar Antonijevic (above in a photo with Sonia Rodriguez) but they didn't seem like they were having a torrid love affair against the backdrop of warring families. They danced lovely together but I didn't get the sparks that I had been hearing Jason O'Reilly (below) or Guillaume Côté and Heather Ogden (1st and last photo) had been giving.

Still, Etienne Lavigne was a terrifically menacing Tybalt (the beard helps) and the band of fools (from what I could determine, was Robert Stephens, Martin Lindiger and 3 other amazing masked dancers who I couldn't figure out) were particular highlights in a dark and tragic show.

Here are my previous reviews from visits to The National Ballet of Canada:

Innovation ***1/2 - IN COLOUR ***, Emergence *****, DEXTRIS ***1/2
In The Upper Room & Symphony in C & Polyphonia ***1/2
The Fiddle and The Drum & Etudes & the second detail & Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan ****
Cinderella ****
Rooster & Soldiers' Mass & 24 Preludes by Chopin ****
An Italian Straw Hat ****1/2
West Side Story Suite & Glass Pieces & In The Night ****1/2
The Merry Widow ****

Vance at


Keira Andrews said...

I saw the show yesterday and I did find it old-fashioned. Very enjoyable, but the choregraphy wasn't as dynamic as I'm used to with the more modern pieces.

Luckily for me, there were sparks aplenty between Nehemiah Kish and Xiao Nan Yu yesterday. They were captivating and I completely bought their romance hook, line and sinker.

Also, I could watch Nehemiah paint a room and be entranced. He's cut his hair and was looking delicious. YUM.

Vance said...

I was glad I could see Chan in one of her last performances this season and I really enjoy Alek but I kinda wish I saw Guillaume or Nehemiah as well.