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

Just Posted

Victoria art gallery provides Open Space in an online way

View Chantal Gibson’s recent show on the web, hear Indigenous stories on Instagram starting Sunday

Victoria brewery throws support behind still-operating restaurants

Vancouver Island Brewing initiates #TakeOutTuesday to keep local eateries in the public eye

LIVE MUSIC: Artist in Residence reaching into the community

Kathryn Calder to perform livestream show on YouTube channel this Friday, April 3

Victoria vocalist Maria Manna reaches out to hard-hit Italy with special online song

Jazz singer to perform ‘Hymn to Freedom’ with Italian lyrics on Facebook at 2 p.m. Monday

Royal BC Museum joins home education trend for outreach programs

Free webinar options available for RBCM@Home and kids’ programs, starting March 31

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Vancouver Island musicians in quarantine thank neighbours with backyard performance

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra director Karl Rainer and his sons play for those in self-isolation

Order of Canada Vancouver Island musician pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer and saxophonist Phil Dwyer notes health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

Campbell River journalist launches Isolationpalooza II

Featuring all local musicians, a volunteer virtual concert, of sorts

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Most Read