Monday, March 4, 2024

Standout Performances, Music Reveal Greatness In Ratmansky’s Romeo And Juliet


Ben Rudisin and Heather Ogden in Romeo and Juliet (Photo: Bruce Zinger)
Ben Rudisin and Heather Ogden in Romeo and Juliet (Photograph: Bruce Zinger)

The Nationwide Ballet of Canada/Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, 4 Seasons Centre, Jun. 15 to 25. Tickets right here.

Twelve years have passed by since Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet entered the repertoire of the Nationwide Ballet of Canada in 2011, and, as I’ve mentioned in earlier critiques, this model, created particularly for the corporate, continues to develop in my admiration.

Whereas I did respect Ratmansky’s choreographic brilliance from the beginning, the beloved John Cranko model, which the Nationwide had been dancing since 1964, was so ingrained in my psyche, that I couldn’t assist seeing two ballets in my thoughts on the similar time. Properly, all reminiscences do fade, so, maybe, lastly, after 12 years, I’ve eventually been capable of lay Cranko to relaxation, and provides Ratmansky my undivided consideration.

In consequence, all of the elements of Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet that talk of greatness have come extra sharply into focus.

Heather Ogden and Ben Rudisin in Romeo and Juliet (Photo: Karolina Kuras)
Heather Ogden and Ben Rudisin in Romeo and Juliet (Photograph: Karolina Kuras)

At first is the choreographer’s musicality. Ratmansky’s motion suits Sergei Prokofiev’s music like hand to glove. The truth is, the 2 are inseparable. It’s inconceivable to inform whether or not the music is driving the dance, or the dance the music, that’s how intricately the 2 are entwined. Thus, you hear Prokofiev’s richly detailed 1935 rating with such a deep depth, that the notes appear to enter your very bones, and at this level, we’ve got to congratulate Maestro David Briskin and the Nationwide Ballet’s orchestra for the sensitivity of their taking part in.

Sure, the composer included lighter moments similar to Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio larking about, however, total, it is a grim and heavy rating. Even the luxurious and rapturous Romeo and Juliet pas de deux music exudes an awesome darkness. An ominous foreboding lies on the coronary heart of Prokofiev’s musical creativeness, which I discovered much more acute than ever earlier than, and Ratmansky’s choreography helped propel that feeling.

Maybe the fusion of music and dance is so highly effective as a result of Ratmansky has carefully adopted Prokofiev’s personal state of affairs — in different phrases, his personal outlines for every scene. Thus, when a choreographer abides by what the composer particulars, the motion has to return from a place of power.

Which isn’t to say that Ratmansky didn’t interact in his personal creativeness.

For instance, Romeo refuses to be goaded by Tybalt when a imaginative and prescient of Juliet seems. Equally, when Romeo has left Verona, Ratmansky has included a dream sequence the place Romeo and Juliet are eager for one another, however are parted. That is conveyed by the 2 dancers being carried aloft in reverse instructions, like ships passing within the night time. As Friar Laurence explains the potion to Juliet, a fake Juliet is seen dying after which awakening in Romeo’s arms.

Ratmansky’s motion itself can be brilliantly character-driven. Romeo’s uber-romanticism, Mercutio’s bodily antics, Tybalt’s alpha male, Paris’ staid the Aristocracy, the Nurse’s fussiness, and naturally, Juliet’s girlish exuberance — all are fantastically fleshed out portraits of actual folks.

Artists of the Ballet in Romeo and Juliet (Photo: Karolina Kuras)
Artists of the Ballet in Romeo and Juliet (Photograph: Karolina Kuras)

Designer Richard Hudson created an enormous, uni-coloured, stylized cityscape for Verona which dwarfs the dancers, with this oversizing, because it have been, carrying over to Juliet’s bed room, Friar Laurence’s cell, and the crypt. Alternatively, this monolithic design therapy appears to set the dance itself right into a better stark aid that highlights the ballet’s very intimate nature.

As for Hudson’s costumes, they realistically recreate the Renaissance, with every outfit for each the characters and the ensemble being completely different, one from the opposite. My solely criticism it why have Juliet’s 4 associates in completely ugly, gray equivalent attire? Their very sameness actually stands out as a misfit.

However let’s get to the dancers, as a result of, total, it was a really robust night.

Heather Ogden (Juliet) has by no means seemed higher. She was positively incandescent as each a dancer and an actor, as her approach merged with character to create a flawless portrait of impetuous youth. Her radiant efficiency was elegant.

Ben Rudisin (Romeo) danced very nicely, He can actually do the showy stuff, and appears to be a wonderful companion. He additionally has essentially the most lovely and sleek arms. As an actor, nevertheless, I needed extra. The character was there, however wanted to be sharpened. Rudisin did every little thing that Romeo was alleged to do, however it was muted. Work on these appearing chops, Ben, as a result of it did take away from the chemistry with Ogden who was, at instances, emoting for 2.

The scene stealers have been Jack Bertinshaw (Mercutio) and Peng-Fei Jiang (Tybalt).

Jack Bertinshaw in Romeo and Juliet (Photo: Karolina Kuras)
Jack Bertinshaw in Romeo and Juliet (Photograph: Karolina Kuras)

The previous has the velocity and assault of his mercurial character, edged with a sly sense of humour. He was a pleasant, playful brat who may also dance up a storm. Jiang, in the meantime, continues to be within the corps, however has been steadily getting roles since becoming a member of the corporate in 2017. His Tybalt was completely terrifying, even majestic in his fury. What a commanding, charismatic determine he portrays on the stage. A particular principal dancer within the making.

Albjon Gjorliaku (Benvolio) made a powerful displaying as Mercutio’s and Romeo’s rambunctious follower, whereas Christopher Gerty was a stately and sympathetic Paris. Jenna Savella and Tanya Howard (Prostitutes) have been suitably vigorous and bawdy.

Alejandra Perez-Gomez (Nurse) was a pleasant bundle of loving heat, whereas Stephanie Hutchison (Woman Capulet) managed to be each merciless and sort on the similar time, however all the time the soul of dignity. Peter Ottman (Friar Laurence) introduced large pathos to his position, whereas former firm members Etienne Lavigne (Lord Capulet) and Jonathan Renna (Duke of Verona) have been again to present power to those elder statesmen.

As for the ensemble, they confirmed verve and vitality all through as a result of Ratmansky has them performing flat-out dancing. The truth is, it is a narrative ballet that dances. There isn’t a conventional mime to inform the story. Slightly, the plot arises out of the motion itself — one other of Ratmansky’s choreographic strengths.

However I do have yet another criticism. 4 male masquers/clowns entertain the townsfolk in an intricate dance, and are necessary sufficient to get their very own bow within the curtain name, but their names usually are not in this system. I wish to know who they’re. Why aren’t they listed?

Lastly, I wish to say my private farewell to 3 dancers who’re retiring from the stage on the conclusion of the season — Alejandra Perez-Gomez, Stephanie Hutchison and Tanya Howard. All three have given me a lot enjoyment through the years, and I thank them for the richness of these performances.

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Paula Citron
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