Celebrate Valentine's Day Ballet-Style With These 8 Productions of "Romeo and Juliet"
Valentine’s Day makes February the perfect month for ballet companies to perform Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s famous tale of star-crossed lovers. A few companies presented their versions earlier this month and many are on their way in the next few weeks. We rounded up eight companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Les Ballet des Monte Carlo, Orlando Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Carolina Ballet and Ballet BC to find out how they’re using this classic ballet to celebrate the holiday of love.
New York City Ballet
A 12-performance run of Peter Martins’ Romeo + Juliet comes in the middle of New York City Ballet’s winter season, spanning from February 13-23 at the Koch Theater in New York City. This year’s production marks the debuts of corps dancers Harrison Coll and Peter Walker as Romeo, and former Pointe cover star Indiana Woodward will be making her debut as Juliet. Below, hear Tiler Peck, who will dance Juliet alongside Zachary Catazarro, point out the tricky technical moments in this role and explain what makes it so special to her.
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre is in the midst of a tour which has already taken them to Washington, DC, and Detroit, MI, where they just completed a run of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet at the Detroit Opera House. Misty Copeland, Hee Seo and Isabella Boylston all took turns as Juliet, and principal Stella Abrera made her debut in the role. We loved seeing her heartfelt social media posts on the experience.
The Washington Ballet
The Washington Ballet brings John Cranko’s 1962 adaptation of Romeo & Juliet to the Kennedy Center Opera House for a six-show run opening February 14. Cranko’s version hasn’t appeared at the Kennedy Center since the Joffrey Ballet performed it there in 1984. TWB artistic director Julie Kent, then a sophomore in high school, performed as an extra. She told Washington radio station WTOP that she “played a townsperson throwing fruit,” though of course she went on to dance Juliet many times over the course of her career with ABT.
Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
The Monaco-based company is bringing Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo and Juliet on a US tour opening in New Orleans on February 24 and then heading to Minneapolis from February 27-28. The company will also be in Chicago from March 3-4 performing Maillot’s The Sleeping Beauty. Maillot’s version of Romeo and Juliet assumes that the audience is familiar with Shakespeare’s story and instead tells the story from Friar Laurence’s point of view. You can catch a glimpse of this postmodern rendition below.
Orlando Ballet and Colorado Ballet
For both of these companies, performances of Romeo and Juliet act as an occasion to celebrate the retirement of a beloved dancer. Orlando Ballet performed Romeo and Juliet last weekend with Chiaki Yasukawa dancing Juliet in her final performance after an 18-year tenure with the company. And Colorado Ballet’s Sharon Wehner will give her last performance with the company after 22 years in a production choreographed by Derek Deane for English National Ballet. Company dancer Yosvani Ramos, formerly with ENB, will dance Romeo to Wehner’s Juliet. Colorado Ballet’s production runs from February 16-25.
Carolina Ballet is in the midst of artistic director Robert Weiss’ Romeo & Juliet spanning February 1-18 at the Fletcher Opera House in Raleigh, NC. You can get a sneak peek of the production with this behind-the-scenes fouetté footage.
The Vancouver–based contemporary ballet company presents the world premiere of Medhi Walerski’s Romeo + Juliet from February 21-24 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Though set to Prokofiev’s original score, Walerski is known for his cutting-edge and modern style. This production will be his first full-length narrative work.