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Chopiniana/Romeo and Juliet: Russian National Ballet Theatre

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(Due to a variety of uninteresting reasons, I owe about six ballet reviews to this Fine Forum. I will try to complete the series in reverse chronological order. For now, here are some Amateur Reviews of the Lowest Order.)

Russian National Ballet Theatre

Chopiniana/Romeo and Juliet

18 January 2011

Tryon Festival Theater, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Orchestra Row R, Seat 6


(lead couple: Marianna Tchemalina and Ruslan Mukhambetkaliev)

From what I saw of this program (mishaps - both weather and a fundamental inability to keep time), it was a rather politely danced program. It was academically sound but pallid. Where is the mystery? Mukhambetkaliev tried for bravura (in a ballet blanc?) and Tchemalina projected beauty. They danced well separately but together gave the impression that they were dancing two different ballets. The corp couldn't decide whether they were grabbing ears or chins as they indicated the necessary port de bras with their fingers.

Romeo and Juliet

music from the Tchaikovsky suite

choreographed by Elena Radchenko

Juliet: Ekaterina Egorova

Romeo: Dmitri Schemelinin

I couldn't bring myself to write an actual review, so here's what happened in my head during the performance, more or less.

(Tableau for the Capulets)

Juliet: Oh woe, oh arabesque en attitude, oh parents.

(Tableau for the Montagues)

Romeo: I'm too cool to have parents, just a posse.

lighting technicians: Let's play with the red colored gels!

(Scene opens upon the party at the Capulets)

Paris (Samat Abdrakhmanov): My hat is substantially bigger than my head.

(A bunch of poorly masked people burst in - Mercutio taunts everyone and is quickly found out. For some reason not made clear on stage, they are allowed to stay. General revelry ensues. Somewhere in here Juliet wanders onto the stage with her girlfriends, sees Romeo, falls in love very quickly. I think there was a love duet but I may have fallen asleep during it. Suddenly Tibault becomes angry. He seems a very volatile fellow. He and Mercutio fight. Predictably, Mercutio dies.)

Lady Capulet: I have taken off my fake curls and will now perform the Mad Scene from Giselle. Oh whiplash. Ow.

(Romeo finishes the job, looks confused but then appropriately devastated. Gives solo in front of the curtains that involves much bravura jumping. Suddenly realizes that it is not a good idea to linger and runs away Somewhere)

Scene 2:

(Romeo bursts into Juliet's room. Juliet greets him joyfully. They roll around on the floor. No, really, they Roll Around on the Floor.)

Parents Capulet: Oh good morning there, Paris will marry you!

Juliet: Um, okay. Oh, wait a minute. No. NO!

Parents Capulet: Death by drawing and quartering! Well, this is a family performance, so we'll just drag you around the floor for a while.

Juliet: Heave, Cry, Woe. (Parents stomp off stage, nearly treading on each other's hems in the process.)

(Suddenly a Robed Man appears behind a colored window, waves his arms and makes the cross several times)

me: Didn't anyone ever tell you not to take unidentified bottles from strange men?!

(Romeo wanders in again, sees Juliet prone on the floor, pointedly not rolling around this time.)

Him: (in the style of teenagers everywhere) OH NOES.

(Suddenly women wearing translucent curtains wander in en pointe. This wakes up Your Critic in a cloud of befuddlement. Apparently he is now reliving their very short Acquaintance. It was a very fondly remembered time with lots of lifts. They exeunt, pursued by no bears.)

Romeo: I fumble around my back for MY poison!

(He drinks and he dies. Juliet wakes up.)

Juliet: I'm alive!

(She makes a circuit around the stage before realizing that Romeo is prone directly behind where she had been sleeping.)

Juliet: (gasp) Romeo! You're not dead! (picks up an arm) You are!

Romeo: (FLOPS audibly on stage)

Your critic: (completely loses her composure into her elbow)

Juliet: Oh well. (stabs self and Dies)

(Your Critic manages not to kill herself on the performing center's steps afterwards and staggers home to write this Account of Events.)

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One of the best reviews I've ever read! Felt like I was there. Fortunatly, or so it sounds, I wasn't. Had the unfortunate experience to see their Giselle a few years ago. Change the story line and you have just about got a verbatim performance! Glad you managed to survive it

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Oh dear. Today there is an ad in my local paper that this troupe will be doing Giselle at a small but lovely theatre here in March. Should I hazard a ticket? I'm used to ABT's Giselle and will be seeing it during their Met season. I'm kind of intrigued to see the Russian National Ballet but will I be horrified by comparison?

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