November 17, 2011
Reviewed by Paula Citron
Romeo and Juliet
National Ballet of Canada
Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky
Music by Sergei Prokofiev
Performed by Guillaume Côté, Elena Lobsanova, Piotr Stanczyk, Jiri Jelinek and Robert Stephen
Four Seasons Centre
Nov. 16 to 27, 2011
There is so much going on in Alexei Ratmansky’s choreography that repeated viewings are needed to come to grips with his new production of Romeo and Juliet for the National Ballet of Canada.
Ratmansky’s choreographic gifts include his brilliant character portrayals. He also understands how to highlight dramatic moments within the music.
His choreographic choices are full of surprises, and some may not be to all tastes. For example, he takes Prokofiev literally. The Dance of the Knights, usually a stately dance for both men and women at the ball, becomes an alpha male ensemble piece for men carrying swords.
As for his choreography in general, Ratmansky is the king of speed and danger. Intricate footwork, dizzying spins, fast-paced leaps and lunges – luckily, the National dancers are technical wizards.
Richard Hudson’s imposing set and realistic costumes are going to be controversial. People are either going to love them or hate them.
Romeo and Juliet continues at the Four Seasons Centre until Nov. 27.