A Russo-Korean Romeo and Juliet Fails to Do the Star-Crossed Lovers Justice


By far the most agreeable part of the Universal Ballet of Korea’s local two-night stand in Romeo and Juliet was the young company’s personable dancers. They present themselves with modesty and charm, working hard—and without affectation—to rise to the technical and dramatic demands of their material. But what peculiar material it is! Choreographed by the company’s artistic director, Oleg Vinogradov, former head of the Kirov Ballet, this R&J chops up the familiar Prokofiev score to suit its purpose, drops and adds events and characters in defiance of its Shakespearean source, and sets combinations of steps that perversely thwart a sustained flow of energy. Oddly enough, the large groups—brawlers in the marketplace, guests at the Capulet ball—are handled interestingly, as if they represented an abstract, sinister force in the story. The most successful parts of the production, though, are Simon Pastsukh’s sets, which make architecture expressive, and Galina Solovieva’s fanciful, ravishing costumes.

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