Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lucien Postlewaite (Romeo) and
principal dancer Noelani Pantastico (Juliette) in Jean-Christophe
Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette. © Angela Sterling
Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Roméo et Juliette” by Maillot, to use an unfairly simple term to describe it, is beautiful, which is what you expect from a ballet. But this performance, without question, asserts the grace and beauty of the men on stage with their particularly gorgeous tight bodies and firm round glutes. The story seems to concentrate as much on the interaction of the male characters as it does on our two famous lovers.
The death of Mercutio: Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in
Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette. © Angela Sterling
The set is minimally simple and without the props you might expect in a performance inspired by the classic tale. The score seems very true and close the traditional R&J score but this version was even more dramatic when performed by PNB’s talented orchestra. The dancing concentrates a lot less on big dance steps and more on the movement of the hands, arms, and upper body. Without words as a guide, a ballet can be a bit harder to follow but since it follows closely to the classic story I found myself rarely disorientated. And while the dramatic tragedy of this work is infamous the infused humor is a delightful surprise.
The talent emanates from these dancers on stage as they prance harmoniously intertwined from scene to scene without pausing. The performance lasts two hours with an additional 20 minute intermission and a brief pause before the 3rd Act. My only concern is that the 3rd Act seems to drag on a little bit long for my attention but who am I to criticize a work like this inspired by the most famous playwright in history.
Embarrassed to say, that the spectacle of so many beautiful men was a treat in itself and worth the price of admission. Definitely, if you are going to see a ballet in the near future Roméo et Juliette is an excellent choice. While the ballet will entertain and inspire a very diverse crowd, I must emphasize that the beauty and radiance of this ballet will have particular appeal to a gay audience. There are only a few shows left (two shows today and shows next Thursday 2/7 through Sunday 2/10) and tickets start at just $20. Contact the Pacific Northwest Ballet Box Office at 206-441-2424 or www.pnb.org.