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Love´s Heralds Should Be Thoughts

Last night at the Teatro Merida The Siberian State Ballet staged a production of Romeo Y Julieta with music by Sergei Prokofiev that was technically proficient, lyrical, intimate, funny and grave. A lithe Meructio fooled us into thinking that he was first death, and then a woman, foreshadowing. Tybalt appeared with a head half shorn and was effective if not stunningly so in his menacing machinations. The corps was quite marvelous and endowed the first act with a festive feeling and good allegro work. Romeo was romantic and sober with long, lean extension and a lovely powerful ballon. Julieta was dead on (haha) as at first sylvan, innocent and playful, whose port de bras and pointework become more graceful and mature as the ballet proceeded. Their pas de deux were chaste and pretty until the curtain fell.

Act II opens on the lovers´ marriage in the cell of Friar Lorence. Two death mask figures are visible behind the scrim. Bathed in cold, dramatic light, the second act is charged and macabre. Despite knowledge of the inevitable the audience remained rapt with Sergei Bobrov´s frantic yet elegant staging. Mercutio made one last glorious display of tours en l´aire and androgyny. His playful athleticism injected a humor and philosophy into a ballet that could read as somewhat safe and dated. Tybalt´s death was the end of order but the beginning of Romeo´s apotheosis of masculinity. He partners Julieta with new command. Julieta, looking slightly withered, wobbled in one arabesque, but was consistently light and fresh. The spectre of death grows as masked dancers fill the stage, creating shapes reminiscent of a Greek chorus or even a Victorian vampire play. This act belongs to Death and soon Other Romeo and Other Julieta were lifting their last. Both eponymous couples melted with skill into one another and eventually into the background of the otherworld.

Teatro Merida is a capacious, Art Nouveau auditorium; seats in the balcony were cool, comfortable and a good vantage for the choreography. The ballet ran just over two hours with one fifteen minute intermission. I was thrilled to be an American in Mexico watching a Russian ballet company´s interpretation of a British play set in Italy. My companion enjoyed the evening, though I fear a Motley Crue concert is in my future. I don´t mind, really. High/Low is one of my favorite games. And I suspect Tommy Lee and Rudolph Nuryev have a lot in common.

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  1. When you find out where Motley Crue is playing around here, be sure to let us know…

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