Friday, 26 April 2013 10:46

GR Ballet Presents Passionate Romeo & Juliet Update

Written by  Allison Parker
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Romeo & Juliet
Grand Rapids Ballet
Peter Martin Wedge Theatre, Grand Rapids
May 10-12, 17-19; show times at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
$30-40
grballet.com, (616) 454-4771

From the iconic 'wherefore art thou' to the dagger's final plunge, William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet delivers enthralling moments that continue to captivate audiences worldwide. This classic tale of forbidden passion returns once again with Grand Rapids Ballet's season finale, Romeo & Juliet. Selling out at its world premiere in 2011, the show has earned international recognition and is the company's most requested work.

While Shakespeare's storyline and Sergei Prokofiev's traditional score provide a familiar backdrop, Mario Radacovsky's new choreography infuses the ballet with vibrant energy and an updated, modern feel. Dance elements are athletic and novel, blending classical and contemporary movement in stunning, imaginative ways.

For Radacovsky, it is particularity important that the choreography expresses authentic emotion that resonates with real-life experiences.

"With this Romeo & Juliet, I would like to tell a tale of passion, love and hate – many aspects of our lives and emotions,"Radacovsky said. "I hope to convey to the audience how this classic story is relevant to all of us. We have all had our Juliets or Romeos, and struggled with barriers. I believe this ballet can be a truly unique experience for all of us – dancers, directors and audience – as we explore with such honesty the passion, love and tragedy of Romeo & Juliet."

Sets and costumes are smoothly incorporated into this vision, transforming the emotions of a familiar tale into urgent feelings audiences can connect with. Background projections are rich with sentimental symbolism, while shrouds offog and splashes of light flood scenes with meaning. Outfits contribute to the immediacy of the ballet, as well as highlight dancers' expression and provide a current edge.

"Grand Rapids Ballet's Romeo & Juliet is a contemporary take on a classic tale," Artistic Director Patricia Barker said. "Some details are stripped, but [Radacovsky] has also taken Shakespeare's tragic love story and made it accessible to all ages with dramatic lighting, modern costuming and stunning dance."

The ballet also tugs at heartstrings by relating all of the characters' inner turmoil to love – a core aspect of human existence. The result is a textured, in-depth exploration of one of the most universal human experiences.

"Shakespeare took the strongest, most basic emotion of human life and created an entire play around it – love. Young love, passionate love, hate love and tragic love," Radacovsky said. "Love is the centerpiece for all other feelings that come into play. It is my hope, with this Romeo & Juliet, that I give you an incredible experience of the many facets of love."


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La Traviata
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DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids
May 3 & 4, 7:30 p.m.
$21-$98, students 50 percent off
opreagr.com, (616) 451-2741

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kazoocivic.com, (269) 343-1313

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broadwaygrandrapids.com, (616) 235-6285

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