Northwest NEWS

June 14, 1999


'Romeo and Juliet' showcases dancers' dramatic intensity

by Deborah Stone

   Pacific Northwest Ballet's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is a lush and sumptuous narrative ballet that smoothly melds dance, music, and drama together to produce a memorable work of art. Artistic Director Kent Stowell's creation first premiered in 1987, and over the years, it has been a favorite of PNB audiences.

   This Shakespeare tragedy of youthful love and loss is an enduringly romantic tale and Stowell wisely chooses to make the intimate relationship between Romeo and Juliet the essence of the story. He has constructed an entirely new musical score, comprised of selections from many of Tchaikovsky's works to fit the emotions and moods of each scene.

   Dancers Louise Nadeau, as Juliet, and Ross Yearsley, as Romeo (one of five couples who dance these roles), are an exquisite pairing that heats up the stage with their passion. They convincingly portray innocence and youth as a couple full of hope and happiness in their discovery of love. With the sudden reversal of fortune, their focus becomes dramatic and the intensity of their dance increases, culminating in a heartrending and touching finale.

   Both Nadeau and Yearsley fully give themselves to their roles and are able to express the range of emotions present in this tragic story with complete believability. Dancers in supporting roles help to set the scene of the proud Capulet and Montague houses and the feud that consumes them. Ming Cho Lee's handsome sets of frescos and columns and Theoni Aldredge's luxurious costumes create Shakespeare's Renaissance world.

   The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is PNB's final ballet of the season.