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In the early years of my professional career, I remember seeing a performance of Romeo and Juliet that moved me in an unforgettable and lasting way. It was by an American company, music: Prokofiev, costume traditional. I remeber juliet had really bad brown hair/wig...braided around the front, curly and unkempt at times in back. Mercutuio had long, frizzy, black hair, like an aged rock star. He usually wore striped tights and had a plunging neckline with ample chest hair:) The choreography was quirky, sometimes silly.

Having said that, it remains to this day the most moving rendition, for me, of the ballet I have ever seen. Juliet's motions weren't as gracefully romantic, but carried with them a sense of the bambi legs that young awkward love can give. The couples love for each other wasn't as commercial and sickening sweet, but rather like an undeniable force that scared them as much as it drove them. It was so much more true to what I remember of young fanatical love than any other telling I have ever encountered. As a young Vagonava dancer stuck in a classical world, it showed me that there can be reality in the storytelling if it is done right. It gave me a new fervor for reinterpreting the classics.

I would very much like to see it again. If anyone has any information on the company/broadcast/video acquirement of this gem, I would be eternally grateful. I saw it around the early 90s but could have been filmed anywhere from 10-15 years prior based on the quality of film. Incidentally, tried the film database listed at the top, but was unable to find or open the actual database section of the site.

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I suspect that this may have been the 1978 telecast on "Dance in America" of the Michael Smuin choreography from the San Francisco Ballet. This is some more information about that telecast:

Romeo and Juliet 1978. 147 min. : sd. color

Notes:Telecast on WNET-TV's Dance in America series on June 7, 1978. Producers: Emile Ardolino and Judy Kinberg. Director: Merrill Brockway. Writer: Tobi Tobias. Introduction: Richard Thomas. Lighting designer: Ralph Holmes.

Choreography (reconceived for television): Michael Smuin. Music: Serge Prokofiev. Sets and costumes: William Pitkin.

Performed by members of The San Francisco Ballet: Diana Weber (Juliet), Jim Sohm (Romeo), Attila Ficzere (Mercutio), Gary Wahl (Tybalt), John McFall (Benvolio), Dennis Marshall (Paris), Michael Dwyer (Lord Capulet), Anita Paciotti (Lady Capulet), Tina Santos (Juliet's nurse), Lew Christensen (Friar Lawrence), Allyson Deane (Juliet's reflection), with Vane Vest, Betsy Erickson, Robert Sund, Val Caniparoli, Gina Ness, and others.

This is lifted from this discussion on SFB videos:


This has never been released commercially. However, the research collection of the New Public Library for the Performing Arts may have it, as may the Museum of Television and Radio.

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