Ballet BC dancers Brandon Alley and Emily Chessa play the lead roles in Romeo + Juliet, presented at the Royal Theatre on March 13 and 14 by Dance Victoria. Photos by Michael Slobodian

MONIQUE SALEZ: Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet sure to feature stunning choreography

But company missed an opportunity to feature diverse retelling of this classic tale

Dance Victoria brings some of B.C. top dancers to the Royal Theatre in March to perform a classic romantic tragedy.

Ballet BC’s rendition of Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, to be performed here March 13 and 14, stays with the rich original score by Sergei Prokofiev, juxtaposed against a stark, minimalist backdrop. In telling this tale of polarization that destroys love, the black and white palette, imbued with contemporary dance by French-born choreographer Medhi Walerski, removes artifice and exposes divisions, inviting us to experience our own dualistic minds.

As his first full-length narrative work, Walerski’s Romeo + Juliet will undoubtedly showcase his innovative and evocative compositions, executed to the highest level of dance and artistry by the team and artists of Ballet BC.

With Walerski poised to become the company’s artistic director this July, Ballet BC president and board chair Linda Brown is “very confident that Medhi’s ambitious and contemporary vision will continue the legacy.” Yet, I must question how contemporary of a vision is contained in this retelling? What I see is another version with a white male and female lead.

In this present global awakening surrounding race, gender and the nature of non-binary love, I would have welcomed a unique casting of the two main characters. Would it not have been incredible to watch two men or two women as the leads, or an interracial couple? The beauty of this Shakespearean template is that everyone knows the narrative, presenting a perfect opportunity to be remarkable, risky and burst the safe bubble that ballet companies often reside in.

This was a missed opportunity to engage diverse communities so they have a chance to see themselves represented on stage and furthermore, provide a space where we as audience members can address our own bias beyond the Capulets and Montagues, to a deeper exploration of our own intolerance.

Romeo + Juliet plays Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Royal Theatre. Tickets are available online at rmts.bc.ca, by phone at 250-386-6121 or at the Royal or McPherson theatre box offices.

Monique Salez is owner/operator of Raino Dance.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

DanceLive theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ballet BC dancers Gilbert Small and Emily Chessa in a scene from Romeo + Juliet. Photo by Michael Slobodian

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Celebrate Victoria Pride Week

The Victoria Pride Society has organized some stop-notch virtual entertainment, including the Virtual Pride Festival on July 5.

Children’s author honours Oak Bay sisters murdered by father

Proceeds from children’s book go towards child abuse prevention in Greater Victoria

Sidney Museum and Archives reopens brick by brick with Lego exhibit

Museum joins other reopenings including Sidney library, Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Vancouver Island Symphony, Kerplunks up for Western Canadian Music Awards

Winners to be announced via live stream on Sept. 25

10th annual Nanaimo Fringe Festival to be held online due to COVID-19

Festival will feature six productions by local, regional and international artists

Nanaimo’s Kismet Theatre Academy closes after eight years due to COVID-19

Bonnie Catterson founded the school in 2012 as ‘a place for the oddballs’

Home dance videos to be part of this year’s Infringing Dance Festival

Crimson Coast Dance Society seeking ‘backyard dance’ submissions to compile into video

Ucluelet loses one of town’s oldest art galleries

Mark Penney Gallery shuts down due, in part, to Hwy. 4 closures and COVID-19 pandemic.

Vancouver Island drummers pay belated tribute to Neil Peart of Rush

Canadian Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer died of cancer at age 67 in January

Yukon poet kjmunro headlines Port Alberni’s virtual Words on Fire

Monthly spoken word event continues virtually at Char’s Landing

Most Read