“Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.”
Joburg Ballet artistic director Iain MacDonald said: “This year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and many ballets inspired by his plays will be staged around the world to celebrate his enduring legacy. With magnificent new sets generously sponsored by Friends of the Ballet, sumptuous Renaissance-inspired costumes and Prokofiev’s evocative music, Romeo and Juliet perfectly captures all the romance, drama and tragedy of Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed love.”
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Dancing the role of Romeo are Joburg Ballet principal dancers Jonathan Rodrigues, Juan Carlos Osma, Michael Revie and Australian-born international guest artist Aaron Smyth. With his technical brilliance, strong dramatic flair and engaging stage presence, Smyth is one of Joburg Ballet’s most popular guest artists, previously appearing with the company in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Who will the fair Juliet?
Alternating as Juliet are Shannon Glover, Kirstel Jensen, Dayana Hardy and prima ballerina Burnise Silvius, who is returning to the stage following an injury which kept her out of Giselle earlier this year.
Jonathan Rodrigues, Juan Carlos Osma and Aaron Smyth are making role debuts as Romeo while Michael Revie is making his company debut in the role, previously having danced Romeo with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. As Juliet, Burnise Silvius and Shannon Glover are returning to the role while Kirstel Jensen and Dayana Hardy will be seen as Juliet for the first time.
For this large scale production of Romeo and Juliet nine dancers from Vuyani Dance Theatre, one of South Africa’s leading dance companies, will augment Joburg Ballet.
Commenting on the partnership, MacDonald said: “We are very pleased to share the stage with Vuyani Dance Theatre. I admire their excellence and energy and am pleased to further cement the existing partnership between our companies. I know our dancers will gain from this experience and I believe the Vuyani dancers will find value and enjoyment in this partnership. It is also my hope that sharing the stage will expose both Joburg Ballet and Vuyani to new audiences.”
Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, creative executive director of Vuyani Dance Theatre, commented: “One of the pillars of Vuyani Dance Theatre’s 2020 Strategy places collaborations of different artistic voices in the forefront in enhancing the ideals of cultural cohesion. It is in this regard that we see the collaboration with Joburg Ballet fulfilling our mandate of exploring new spaces and audiences and to also expose our audiences to a historically classical form of dance that has a long history in our country. I know that Vuyani dancers in a production of Romeo and Juliet will be able to add value to the production and bring an energy that is rich in texture. Vuyani prides itself on its chameleon-like ability to cross cultures and audiences and the confidence provided by other companies to collaborate.”
Performance casting for Romeo and Juliet principal roles:
Shannon Glover and Jonathan Rodrigues: Friday 15 July at 19h30 (Opening Night), Wednesday 20 July at 11h00, Saturday 23 July at 15h00
Kirstel Jensen and Juan Carlos Osma: Saturday 16 July at 15h00, Saturday 23 July at 19h30
Dayana Acuna and Michael Revie: Saturday 16 July at 19h30, Tuesday 19 July at 11h00
Burnise Silvius and Jonathan Rodrigues: Sunday 17 July at 15h00
Burnise Silvius and Aaron Smyth: Friday 22 July at 19h30, Sunday 24 July at 15h00
Please note, casting is subject to change.
For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.