Dance review | PNB's 'Roméo et Juliette' is a great love story ardently retold
Jean-Christophe Maillot's 'Roméo et Juliette,' stripped of the extras of traditional productions and ardently focused on the doomed lovers, returns to open Pacific Northwest Ballet's new season.
Seattle Times arts writer
'Roméo et Juliette'7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Oct. 1-3. 2 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 3, 1 p.m. Oct. 4, Pacific Northwest Ballet, McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., Seattle; $25-$160 (206-441-2424 or www.pnb.org).
Dance review |
Eighteen months ago, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carla Körbes was set to make her debut as Juliette in Jean-Christophe Maillot's "Roméo et Juliette." It's the role a ballerina dreams of: a showcase of technique and an emotional journey rare in the ballet world. Just days before opening, Körbes suffered an injury and had to drop out of the cast. The ballet, in its Seattle premiere, was a huge success.
Now, with "Roméo et Juliette" returning to open PNB's new season, it seemed only right that Körbes would dance opening night, and the crowd at McCaw Hall was with her from the moment she ran onstage, a carefree teen happily teasing her nurse (witty Chalnessa Eames). And Körbes made the role her own: Her Juliette was a little more reserved than that of Noelani Pantastico last year; her dancing seemed to grow from a more quiet, reflective place.
Yet, when she and her Roméo (the marvelous Lucien Postlewaite, who danced the role last year) came together for the exquisite pas de deux that closes Act I, their chemistry was astonishingly powerful. Set to Sergei Prokofiev's shiveringly beautiful score (delicately played by the PNB orchestra, under Stewart Kershaw's baton), the dance unfolds as a series of chases, of catches, of rapture as one young body discovers another, and one pair of eyes beholds what it didn't know it had always looked for. Postlewaite leapt and writhed as if happily drowning in a pool of sensation. Körbes, when lifted, seemed barely aware of having left the ground; her Juliette was already airborne.
Maillot's "Roméo et Juliette" is famously stripped of much of what we expect from the ballet: Ernest Pignon-Ernest's scenery is stark and contemporary; Jérôme Kaplan's costumes flowing but simple; Maillot's choreography often flows from just a natural walk or run. But it's all the more moving for it. The company, many of whom are reprising their roles from last year, fling themselves into the work with abandon: note, in particular, Olivier Wevers' eerily precise posture and devastating silent screams as Friar Lawrence; Ariana Lallone's wild grief as Lady Capulet, flinging her body as if it might snap in two; Jonathan Porretta's playful Mercutio; Batkhurel Bold's soaring Tybalt, who has a jump in Act I that seemed to make time stand still.
But this ballet belongs to its star-crossed lovers, who leave us moved and marveling at its end. Bravo.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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