Tulsa Ballet premieres brand new Romeo & Juliet

Jan 11, 2012 in 11-12 Season Releases


Tulsa, Okla. – January 11, 2012
– From February 10 – 12, 2012, world-renowned choreographer Edwaard Liang presents his first full-length ballet, Romeo and Juliet, for Tulsa Ballet. This is the first full-length ballet in Tulsa Ballet’s history to be especially created for the company. Tulsa Ballet presents three performances of Romeo and Juliet at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center the weekend before Valentines Day. Tickets may be purchased by calling 918-749-6006 or by visiting www.tulsaballet.org.

“Edwaard Liang’s new Romeo and Juliet marks a significant milestone in the growth and development of Tulsa Ballet as, when it will open on February 10th, it will be the first and only commissioned full evening piece in the 55 years’ history of our organization,” Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini said. “Edwaard is an internationally respected choreographer, among the top dance makers of his generation. To have him here, and to see this production coming together piece by piece, is an extraordinary experience for all of us.”

Liang’s professional dancing career includes performing with New York City Ballet, Broadway’s Fosse, Nederlands Dans Theater, Norwegian National Ballet and Complexions. His choreographic career began with the Nederlands Dans Theater. Since then he has created works for New York City Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, Washington Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, National Ballet of Novosibirsk and Singapore Dance Theatre. While creating Beautiful Child for Tulsa Ballet in 2010, Angelini approached Liang about creating his full-length ballet, Romeo and Juliet.

“It’s funny because I was craving to do a full-length ballet,” Liang said. “When he asked me if I would be interested in choreographing a Romeo and Juliet, I was excited and scared at the same time. Romeo and Juliet is such an iconic ballet – a ballet for everyone, not just the balletomanes. It’s for all ages, all races and all cultures. This story really transcends any sort of social divide. It’s about humanity, love, betrayal, hate and it represents everything we try to evolve around and aspire to.”

Based on the play by William Shakespeare, this emotionally stunning ballet is set in 16th century Verona, Italy, and shares the tragic love story of two beautiful teenagers whose families are divided. The romance begins when Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet meet at a masquerade ball, fall in love below young Juliet’s balcony and are secretly wed with the help of Juliet’s nurse and Friar Laurence. The tragedy begins when Romeo is banished from Verona after a bloody confrontation with Juliet’s relative, Tybolt. With her parents insisting she must marry Paris, the nobleman who has been pursuing her, Juliet takes a potion that brings the appearance of death, but allows her to be reunited with Romeo. The two young lovers are indeed reunited with the devastating climax in the Capulet family crypt.

While creating Romeo and Juliet, Liang wanted the story to keep moving so he cut sections that were not engaging. His choreographic changes enhance the story and propel the dancers into a more human and realistic approach to their characters. His movements translate into a beautiful language of dance following one of the world’s most beloved love stories.

“Both Edwaard and I feel strongly about making this new version of Romeo and Juliet one that stands out of the rest of the pack,” Angelini said.

“Along these lines, we wanted the piece to be as real for the audience as it was for the two star-crossed lovers in Shakespeare’s play. One aspect of bringing the story to life is the sword fights that take place throughout the ballet. In order to make them as authentic as possible, we engaged the help of Fight Director, and Master Sword Fighter, Steve White. He has worked on Broadway shows and movies and we know he’ll bring an element of reality to the clashes between the two families.”

With daring swordfights, beautiful sets and costumes by award-winning David Walker, Prokofiev’s sweeping score, the romantic balcony pas de deux and the heart wrenching ending, Liang’s Romeo and Juliet is sure to touch audiences of all kinds.

“This is the one show this year that nobody can afford to miss,” Angelini said. “It’s an historical event for Tulsa Ballet, almost a rite of passage for our company. It’s a show that will entertain the audience beginning to the end, one that will emote every member of our public and a perfect Valentine’s gift for any couple of any age.”