Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jane: Ballet to die for

I just finished watching a tape we made of the NYC Ballet doing Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet from the PBS Live at Lincoln Center. Not a dry eye in the house at the end! OK, I was the only one watching it, but you'd have been in tears, too.

I was a bit wary about watching it. I saw a wonderful production in Munich, oh, 29 years ago. And I am very partial to the R & J pas de deux between Margot Fontaine and Nuryev. OK, neither of them is close to R & J's age in the recording I watched, but I LOVE her dancing.

But this one is . . . absolutely amazing. Peter Martens did the choreography and added some edginess to the fight and marketplace scenes. Mercutio was amazing and Tybalt really danced like Verona's best fighter. Darcy Kistner (sp?), the last of Balanchine's ballerinas to still be dancing, played Mama Capulet.

The best were the lead couple. Robert Fairchild--handsome and tall--played Romeo, and Stirling Hyltin--an amazing actress as well as dancer--played Juliet. Wow, were they good. So expressive in their movements and faces.

The most poignent part of this version was the way the lead dancers embodied the lives and love of very young teens. Maybe this struck me especially hard during this viewing since I have a son who's 14, and he has an almost-13-year-old "girlfriend." But these dancers WERE young teens on stage. The goofiness, the excessive emotions, the amazement at what it's like to fall in love (gorgeous pas de deux dancing), Romeo stabbing and stabbing Tybalt in his rage, Juliet weeping and hesitating about the sleeping potion. I could almost see those young people I know acting just the same way. Oooh--just thinking about it gives me shivers!

If you didn't see it, see if you can find a copy somewhere to watch. Maybe I'll loan you my tape . . . maybe.

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