It was with great excitement that I took little one to the matinee performance of the South African Ballet Theatre’s season of Romeo & Juliet on Saturday, 4 June. As it is not a true ‘Fairy Tale’ ballet like Nutcracker, or Cinderella, it was a bit risky, as little one is only 3 years old.
To my surprise it all played off almost like a fairy tale. I wanted to start the review as many others, with the correct terminology, words and ooh-aah’s and realised that we also need to look at how the youngsters in the audience experience the productions. This is how my little dancing princess experienced Saturday afternoon at the Theatre.
Excited she asked me when the dancing is going to start with the first little notes the orchestra started playing. Mesmerised, when the curtain started lifting and the dancers appeared on the scene of the Market Place in Verona. She sat quiet as all the dancers twirled and paraded on the stage – taking in all the detail of the elaborate, exquisite costumes to the fine detail of the different characters on the stage. The décor was effective and made one feel as if you stepped into an old Middle aged town with all the stately, elegant noblemen and –ladies around you, and in turn being part of all that played off in front of your eyes.
When Juliet graciously and delicately floated along the stage, little one even said: “I love that fairy princess!” Lauryn Summerley as Juliet was innocent, beautiful and ethereal; it made all the little girls want to dance like her. Humberto Montero as her Romeo was young, vibrant and energetic. Although the young dancers danced their roles with great enthusiasm and confidence, I believe that there is still much growth and maturity to be gained. The young dancers have a lot of potential to become the best dancers that they can possibly be and more, and it would be wonderful to experience them blossoming into mature, strong and agile dancers with further seasons and ballets to be produced.
Romeo and Juliet is known as a Ballet where the dancers are challenged more as actors rather than technical dancers and it was interesting to see that the younger members of the audience followed the story line and could relate to the finer detail; from the market place and the sword feuds to the scenes in the Chapel, to the bedroom scenes and finally the Capulet Crypt. The children – very distressed – knew that poor Romeo died to later also be joined by Juliet and sat on their seat edges until the last moment that the curtains were drawn.
I would like to invite the dancers of the Company to share their love for Ballet and to reach out to the future Juliets and Romeos and inspire them to develop a constant awareness of what an exquisite art form we share with each other.
Congratulations South African Ballet Theatre on recreating this beautiful ballet for the Gauteng audiences!
For more information on shows, please click on link below:www.dancedirectory.co.za/content/eventscalendar/articles.asp?MID=1493&Section=Top
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