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Maillot Roméo et Juliette


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I had hoped to write about this but have not been able to find the time. PNB watchers are already very familiar with this version -- which PNB also danced in NY. So I guess quite a few people on this board have seen it. As I understand Atlanta is sharing the PNB production.

I found the ballet more theatrically interesting than choreographically interesting but still a big improvement over the Michael Pink version the company used to do (which seemed sort of cut-rate Macmillan to me). Maillot rethinks the score in a fresh way while not abusing or fighting against it. (And how fantastic to have live music for the entire run!)

The curving, moving, abstract panels and ramp that make up the sets were beautifully lit and created a wonderful stage space/atmosphere. I admit, though, that it took me a few minutes to get used to Maillot's abstracted, stylized approach as I am very used to associating Prokofiev's rather concretely narrative score with similarly concretely narrative sets/costumes and Macmillan or Macmillanesque psycho-drama. (I have seen other productions than Macmillan--but all dressed with stage-Renaissance pageantry.)

I would have liked to see it more than once--but the company performs in a theater I can't get to easily, so...

Several moments were very striking to me--Juliet opening the balcony scene looking up at the sky, facing away from the audience and Romeo's brutal killing of Tybalt, strangling him (as best I could tell) with a cloth stained with Mercutio's blood. I also liked the puppet show foretelling the whole story. The larger "frame" in which the entire ballet appears as if unfolding in Friar Lawrence's memory was less compelling to me, though it certainly allowed for some of the more interesting dance passages.

I thought the company did a very fine job, though perhaps occasionally some of them seemed a little underpowered in relation to what Maillot was asking of them. I have nothing but praise for Christian Clark as Romeo and especially--my favorite ballerina in the company!--Alessa Rogers as Juliet. Rogers was lithe, powerful, and very moving. I think she is an outstanding dancer, and though I could wish Atlanta Ballet were not morphing into a semi-modern dance company her modern dance experience seemed to me to serve her well in the last act--not so much because it's done in bare feet as that it really calls for a weight and expressiveness that aren't exactly balletic.

The company put out a youtube video in which she discusses the role: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSp_5h7EEOs#t=87

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I'm glad to hear good things about this performance. I think you've put your finger on an interesting idea -- the Prokofiev score is very organized (easy to follow the dramatic action from the musical cues), and there are places in the Maillot that stretch against that skeleton (especially in the meta-story with Friar Laurence used as a narrator/commentator). But I think there are places where the choreography works extremely well with the score, the balcony scene being one of them.

It is indeed a tour de force role for the woman dancing Juliette, and it sounds like you've got an excellent one.

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