Ballet BC’s Elegant New Take on ROMEO + JULIET

The Soroya Welcomes Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet on Saturday, February 29 at 8PM and Sunday, March 1 at 3PM  

PHOTO: Michael Slobodian | South Pasadena News | Ballet BC Dancers Brandon Alley and Emily Chessa in Romeo+Juliet.

The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts presents Ballet BC’s stunningly reimagined take on the timeless tale of Romeo + Juliet.

Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet is a classic yet fresh retelling of Shakespeare’s tale of forbidden love with all the familiar characters in a production that had dance lovers and families enraptured at its Vancouver premiere in 2018. The timeless tale of two star-crossed lovers features new choreography by Medhi Walerski, French choreographer and former NDT and Paris Opera ballet dancer, who is one of the most innovative dance makers today. He was recently named Ballet BC’s new Artistic Director.

“Breathtaking,” said The Globe and Mail, choreographer “Walerski has created a powerful and laconic Romeo and Juliet that has that elusive quality of feeling new.” Romeo + Juliet is set to the well-known 1938 score by composer Sergei Prokofiev. Following The Soraya performances, Romeo + Juliet will travel to the Sydney Opera House where Ballet BC will have its Australian debut.

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Single tickets for Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet start at $39 and are currently on sale at The Soraya, (818) 677-3000 and at TheSoraya.org.

About Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet

“The vision of love that Shakespeare gave us in this master work is very precious. It is like holding a jewel in your hand that needs to be protected.” —Medhi Walerski

Martha Schabas in the Globe and Mail said Romeo + Juliet is “Dramatically vibrant. Unforgettable. Visionary. Walerski sinks deep into his dancers’ bodies and reimagines this centuries-old story at a real physical level … choreography that would be compelling on a soloist and is doubly captivating to see on a group, sometimes synchronized and other times in staggered counterpoint. Mr. Walerski has given Romeo some particularly lush choreography as a young man falling in love for the first time… hard to believe [but] Act 2 was even stronger.”

Globaldancer said this production “might have just set a benchmark for Romeo and Juliet productions in contemporary ballet [with] articulate choreography that found new depth and vibrancy in the characters.”

For centuries, the tale of tragic “star-crossed lovers” has inspired many an artist. Compelling in its timeless relevance, this deeply human story captures audiences with enduring themes of love, fate and family. In Romeo + Juliet, Walerski offers a fresh and bold retelling of this classic story of forbidden love that continues to resonate today.

After sold out performances for the world premiere, Ballet BC returns to this iconic story set to Sergei Prokofiev’s stunning score. Artfully crafted by Medhi Walerski, an original voice in international dance, his innovative retelling of the full-length classic brings together dazzling scenes woven with unpredictable and complex imagery. Along with evocative set and lighting design by Dutch designer Theun Mosk, Walerski conjures a thought-provoking and contemporary approach to Romeo + Juliet.

About Ballet BC

Founded in 1986, Ballet BC has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Emily Molnar since 2009. Ballet BC is an internationally acclaimed collaborative and creation-based contemporary ballet company that is a leader and resource in the creation, production and education of contemporary dance in Canada. Bold and innovative, the Company’s distinctive style and approach have made a unique and valuable national contribution to the development of dance. In 2019, the Company was nominated for an Olivier Award for “Best New Dance Production” for their tour to Sadler’s Wells in London, which featured Solo Echo by Crystal Pite, 16 + a room by Emily Molnar, and Bill by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar.

Ballet BC’s dancers are a group of open-minded and curious artists, each unique for their dynamic movement while sharing an intuitive passion for dance. Ballet BC is committed to its role as a leader in the community through dancer training opportunities, community and audience outreach, and professional development activities.

The Company presents a diverse repertoire of Canadian and international work from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and is a hotbed for the creation and performance of new works. Since 2009, the Company has developed a repertoire of more than 45 new works by acclaimed Canadian and international choreographers including William Forsythe, Cayetano Soto, Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, Medhi Walerski, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, Johan Inger, Adi Salant, Emanuel Gat, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Jacopo Godani, Company 605, Jorma Elo, Wen Wei Wang, Itzik Galili, Serge Bennathan, Walter Matteini, José Navas, Emily Molnar, Lesley Telford, Nicolo Fonte, Fernando Hernando Magadan, Kevin O’Day, Shawn Hounsell, Gioconda Barbuto, Simone Orlando, Robert Glumbek and Aszure Barton among others.

Under the artistic direction of Emily Molnar, a former member of The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet BC and the Ballett Frankfurt, the Company actively fosters collaborations that support artists, choreographers and audiences alike, furthering the boundaries of contemporary dance. The company embraces excellence in the practice of contemporary ballet, with its wide diversity of technique and style, honouring its roots and components.

About Medhi Walerski, Choreographer and Incoming Ballet BC Artistic Director

French choreographer, and former NDT and Paris Opera ballet dancer Medhi Walerski will succeed Emily Molnar as Ballet BC’s new Artistic Director. His first full season as Artistic Director in the 2020/21 season will coincide with the Company’s 35th anniversary.

In working closely with the Company over the past several years, Walerski has a deep knowledge of and respect for the vision that Molnar has maintained, and brings his own highly inspiring vision for the Company. His programming objectives are fresh, collaborative, and ambitious, and will continue to enhance the Company’s reputation as a national and international dance organization and ensure the continued path of immense growth.

Walerski launched his dance career at the Paris Opera Ballet, and eventually became a company member with NDT for more than a decade. He made his choreographic debut with NDT in 2008 and since then, Walerski has continued to create for NDT as well as other Companies as an independent choreographer, including Ballet BC. He created the highly successful Petite Céremonie, a work that has toured across the globe and remains a highlight of Ballet BC’s repertoire.

Walerski has since created a number of works for Ballet BC, including 2018’s Romeo + Juliet — his first full-length narrative work — which has become the Company’s most successful production to date with upcoming performances at The Soraya in Northridge, CA, February 29 – March 1, 2020, and at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, June 10-14, 2020.