Romeo & Juliet
My first Juliet at 21, Peter Schaufuss chose me to dance in the recently revived production and he had just left the company as its Director to go to Berlin.
I was so nervous & ran in to Jose Manuel Carreno during the first act to fall at his feet!
Sir Frederic Ashton’s Juliet.
A delicate femininity and articulate technique, shimmering steps especially in the first Pas de deux where she swoons almost faints with love at the sight of him. Then at the beginning of the balcony scene where their palms touch as a kiss and arch towards a sensuous and electrically charged backbend and the music enters like round circles of light, galaxies, gaseous clouds with stars being born, complementing and accenting the excitement of this new love affair. Towards the end of the act there are three journeys across the stage of hopping arabesques on point as if she’s almost trying to run away from him but he catches hold of her and he draws her close to him.
The bedroom scene is not as erotic as Sir Kenneth Macmillans' , there are more chances to display the emotional cries and anguish over the fact that he must leave, flee the city.
One Summer at the Royal festival Hall, someone went off and i had the opportunity to do three Juliets in a row, to try and perfect the characterisation as i went along. During the middle of the week i discovered a melting point at which i began to really feel a relationship between the beauty and innocence of her purity, passion and grace this one of the most exciting moments of my life so far must have caused difficulties with some of the other dancers but i was really too excited and too young to notice anything at the time.
Juliet a role i loved to dance always wanted to dance and later studied in depth - as always, back to front! -
later being given the opportunity to understudy Rudolph Nureyevs version, it was so complicated and left no room for any quietness, emotional expression or stillness, inwardly this caused me much anger, both Romeo and Juliet so busy with steps all the time and in this version Juliet was a real tomboy. I turned my nose up at it but then decided to have a go anyway.
As much as i tried my long feet, long legs, little ankles and wobbly waist did not fit and did not want to fit into the choreography, i felt like a stick insect being pushed around.
Privately my partner Christian Duncun and I worked with Rick Jaun the original Tybalt & we accomplished a lot in the short time that we had, i began to relish and find ways of making the Pas de Deux’s work accepting that it was musically late sometimes that my length flexibility and grace could help to deliver my own Juliet and not the explosive guts of a Bolshoi Ballerina although this was a gentler and more truthful avenue to travel down for me it was not what the choreographer or the original muse (Patricia Ruanne) wanted and it wasn’t going to work!
At least i feel most grateful that we had the chance and courage to work with great enthusiasm and honesty which is something that can rarely be accomplished in the big rehearsals where everyone is crowded into one place there’s no-where to hide and be more open and private with the real self.
My deepest regret i think, was not being available and present when Derek Deane choreographed his Romeo and Juliet for the Royal Albert Hall, i feel sure i would’ve probably had an opportunity to learn if not perform Juliet in his version. He gave me many opportunities appreciating my movement and quality and encouraged that need to expand in more technically expressive & dramatic works.