Russian State Ballet: Romeo and Juliet

I’m still mildly weepy after seeing the Russian State Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet at the Fox. The thing about Lavrovsky’s choreography for it is that, while no individual scene is particularly great, the ballet taken as a whole is probably the best narrative ballet of the story. MacMillan’s has some great scenes — and I love his Dance of the Knights more than almost any scene in any other ballet — but it’s a little choppy and so it isn’t so much moving as it is just a pleasure to watch. Maillot’s brings out the playful parts exceptionally well and will make you see what made Romeo want Juliette so much, but the stylized violence makes the gravity of the conflict feel much less substantive and I don’t think that his variations on the story, such as the play-within-a-play puppet show, add anything of value to the narrative. (Also, to be frank, I think that we’ll find the mise en scene to be horribly dated in 15 years or so, if his ballet lasts that long.) I’ve only seen Gregorovich’s choreography on DVD, so I might have a different opinion if I were to see it performed live, but nothing about it stuck with me but that it seemed work with the music more than any other production that I’ve seen; though I felt that was at the expense of coherency and the story. That is all to say, Lavrovsky’s choreography is the only version that is really able to leave me feeling weepy at the end because it does the best job of drawing me into the story.
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