Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" is undoubtedly the most famous love story ever written. Since Shakespeare wrote his immortal words, there have been many adaptations from plays to musicals to film. Starting Oct. 31, Milwaukee Ballet will present its own adaptation. Yesterday, Oct. 17, Milwaukee Ballet veteran and this year's Juliet Luz San Miguel took the time to share her experiences as a ballerina around the world and currently with Milwaukee Ballet.
Luz has been dancing professionally for 18 years and always knew she wanted to be a ballerina. She was born in Madrid and has danced with BalletMet, Charleston Ballet Theater, Tulsa Ballet, Dresden Ballet and Leipziger Ballet in Germany. She has also performed as a guest dancer in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Protugal, and across the United States. Her decision to join Milwaukee Ballet over other international options came primarily from her admiration of Artistic Director Michael Pink.
We were very familiar with Michael Pink's work when we were dancing in Europe we know of him over in England, so we were very familiar with his work. I've a big fan of his ballet.
While she admits she wasn't sure exactly where Milwaukee was at the time, she expressed a fondness for Milwaukee and has been with Milwaukee Ballet for eight years.
I was pleasantly surprised at this beautiful city and how welcoming the people are and just a fantastic surprise...we just love it here.
Not so surprising was her pleasant experience working with Michael Pink. When asked what it's like working with Pink, Luz struggled to find words until saying,
I have no words to describe it. How much you grow as an artist working with him and as a person it's just a fantastic experience, especially in his storytelling ballets like "Romeo & Juliet."
This is Luz's third time playing Juliet and she says that it was always her favorite role and that there was just something about the character that captivated her. But even after hours upon hours of rehearsals and performances as Juliet, Luz says there is always something new to experience as a person and performer each time. And while every role is challenging (even after 18 years of professional dancing and a lifetime of dancing otherwise), Luz says the challenge in "Romeo & Juliet" is in expressing Shakespeare's words through dance.
We have to express the beauty of his word with movement so that's where the whole challenge comes... I think you can express so much more with a gesture than with words and that's what Michael Pink does so beautifully with his "Romeo & Juliet", just put the movement in every single word Shakespeare wrote... that's the beauty of dancing it."
However, during the five-week rehearsal period, the dancers work on perfecting their technique six hours a day so they are fully prepared come performance time.
That rehearsal period is the time that we think and perfect our technique and then by the time that the performance comes there is just feeling.... I always say that rehearsals are for thinking and performances are for feeling."
The ballet dancers' physical and emotional expression of Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" is sure to get the audience feeling too. Luz hopes that the audience can relax and take their minds off things and let the ballet company do their job of arousing such emotions and feelings through dance.
The whole company does outstanding work... It's a beautiful, beautiful performance and everybody goes home crying.
Milwaukee is sure to get a unique and amazing experience with this production of "Romeo & Juliet" as Luz, an experienced ballerina upon her third time portraying Juliet, supports it saying,
Through all of my ballet career I can tell you this is one of the most beautiful "Romeo & Juliet"s I have seen, so it is definitely worth it to come and see.
To close the interview, Luz San Miguel says to aspiring dancers,
Keep working really hard for your dream. It's not an easy road and sometimes you feel like there is not light at the end of the tunnel and you want to give it up but work through all that keep working and you will find your reward.
Luz has certainly found her reward in her role as Juliet in Milwaukee Ballet's production of "Romeo & Juliet", which will run Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Marcus Center. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling the Milwaukee Ballet Box Office at (414) 902-2103. More more information on Milwaukee Ballet, visit http://www.milwaukeeballet.org/.