Romeo and Juliet – Australian Tour
Houston Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet is a rare treat for ballet fans
You’ve never seen Shakespeare quite like this before. The Australian Ballet is bringing his most famous pair of star-crossed lovers back to the stage, but this time they’re coming all the way from Houston.
Making their national debut, the world-renowned Houston Ballet company will grace Melbourne stages with a sumptuous production directed by local boy Stanton Welch.
Australian Ballet artistic director David McAllister says this incarnation of Romeo and Juliet is a rare treat for ballet fans.
“Seeing a company that’s never been in Australia before perform Romeo and Juliet is pretty exciting. I know that, from the performances I’ve seen by Houston Ballet, you’ll always walk away uplifted.”
The decision to import another company was originally intended to fill a gap in this year’s season, while Australian Ballet went off on a European tour – which was subsequently delayed.
David says Houston Ballet shares a similar, story-focused approach to its work and they have exchanged dancers over the years. They also share Stanton Welch, who remains David’s resident choreographer while overseeing the US outfit.
His take on Romeo and Juliet embraces the story’s traditions – with lush, Renaissance Italian sets and costuming by acclaimed designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno – while bringing an athletic, dangerous edge to the choreography.
“There are huge sword fights,” David says. “There’s a lot of carnage that happens. But ballet came out of the world of fencing. The reason that dancers dance with their legs in that turned-out stance is because that was the most stable pose when fencing in the French court. A lot of that is ingrained into the ballet technique. Stanton worked with a fight coach to make sure the fights were very real but also safe.”
He laughs. “As safe as they can be.”
Link to the article