Colorado Ballet brought Shakespeare's famed tragedy, Romeo and Juliet to life Friday, February 25 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver. Set to Sergei Prokofiev's emotionally charged score, Maria Mosina covered the gamut of emotion as she danced innocently in the first act, passionately in the second, and desperately in the third.
The roles of Romeo and Juliet are both not only physically demanding roles, but challenging character pieces as well. If the majority of communication is expressed through body language, the mostly-full house at the Ellie were fully aware of the intensity these characters felt.
Romeo and Juliet has always been my favorite ballet, and Colorado Ballet reminded me of just why that is. The expression of such provactive emotion is incredibly real and incredibly raw - it's why audiences pay money to watch people commit suicide in pointe shoes and tights. Dancers Maria Mosina and partner Alexei Tyukov showed us the depths of wreckless, passionate love, followed by utter hopelessness and, in the end, uncontrollable grief.
These three emotions: love, despair and grief, are all emotions that we learn to control in our adulthood; even though we might feel like we're dying inside from the aforemetioned feelings, it's not entirely acceptable to express them in their rawest form. Romeo and Juliet allows the audience to explore these emotions, with intimate scenes depicting both Romeo and Juliet's deepest thoughts and emotions.
What makes this ballet so spectatcular is that, with the exception of scenes in the marketplace and during the Capulet's ball, we are allowed very private moments with the characters. Juliet's childlike innocence, beautifully danced by Mosina, was displayed by playful actions with her nurse, hiding under her covers when her parents come to discuss her betrothal to Paris, and her reluctance to take the sleeping elixir - running and hiding behind her chair in fear of the potion.
The intensity of the balcony scene - a complete tear jerker when Mosina and Alexei Tyukov's dancing is combined with Prokofiev's rich score - was stunning. The combined sexual energy, innocent wonder, and passion set the stage on fire. We've all been there, we all know that feeling, and those of us seated in the Ellie that Friday night undoubtedly felt that feeling.
The final scene in Juliet's tomb was appropriately gut wrenching. Guest choreographer Alun Jones staged the heartbreaking scene, with the always-uncomfortable-to-watch pas de deux between Romeo and the lifeless Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet does have some physically challenging elements to it - but it's no Swan Lake. The beauty of this ballet lies in the pantomime, in the ability of the dancer to go to mentally difficult places and draw the audience in. Colorado Ballet accomplished just that - from the first longing gaze between the lovers to the final self-induced dagger to the gut - and reminded the audience that beyond staged reality TV shows and online dating noise, real, raw, true love does exist.
Don't miss the final performances of Romeo and Juliet this weekend at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in downtown Denver.
Friday, March 4 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 5 at 2 pm
Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 6 at 2 pm
Tickets can be purchased at www.coloradoballet.org or by calling the Ticket office at 303-837-8888 ext. 2. Prices start at $19.