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Stuttgart in San Diego

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I saw Stuttgart's Romeo & Juliet last night at the Civic Theatre. Wow. I knew I was in for a good performance because my mother had just seen it in Orange County. We are both huge fans of the Prokofiev score and love MacMillan's staging of R&J. We'd heard good things about Cranko's version and sure enough, we loved it!

An interesting side note: One of the directors of the regional ballet company here in SD was a member of Stuttgart and actually appeared in their R&J at the Civic Theatre back in 1971! He said the choreography is the same step for step. Also, for whatever reason, none of Cranko's ballets are on video (with the possible exception of Taming of the Shrew.) Too bad. Does anyone know why? Afraid of people copying?

In any case, Sue Jin Kang and Filip Barankiewicz were the leads and they were fantastic. One thing I really appreciated was that they both added elements in their dancing to project youth. Sometimes Romeo and Juliet come across as very regal, grand, and mature but let's face it. We're talking about a couple of teenagers here -- youthful love full of drama and excitement. I love it when dancers can project that and they did. Also, this was mentioned elsewhere but I have never seen a double tour more amazing than Filip's. Before they enter the ball, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio do a dance where they have to do, I don't know, at least 15 double tours. Most of them are done at the same time standing next to each other. They all go up an down at the same time but Filip's is so high and crisp and perfect! Wow.

The production is magnificent. Gorgeous costumes, lovely sets, wonderful dancing and not just for the leads, a great Mercutio, the orchestra did a pretty good job with the score -- and the Sunday matinee crowd loved it. I've never heard a San Diego crowd clap as much as they did -- and that was just at the first intermission!

Go see it.

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