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

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

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

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Most Read