By Laurie Scarborough
Cape Town City Ballet’s newest offering, Romeo and Juliet, has celebrated sold-out performances at the Maynardville Theatre this season.
The ballet, with original choreography by resident CTCB Artistic Director, Robin van Wyk, was a true showcase of talent for the ballerina who danced the role of Juliet. Her choreography was truly beautiful and danced superbly as always by the sprite in a green dress, Laura Bosenberg. Her duets with Romeo, danced by Thomas Thorne, were also spectacular, with sweeping and soaring lifts and athletic partnering.
However, I felt that the choreography didn’t give much for the corps to do, and in fact anyone with a few years of pointe work training would have been able to handle the corps’s choreography easily. As a professional production, you expect a bit more from dancers who spend their whole working day perfecting their craft, and so this was a bit disappointing.
It was a treat to see ex-prima ballerinas, Janet Lindup and Nicki Loxton, perform on the same stage. Nicki was a real scene-stealer, as Juliet’s Nurse, adding a comedic touch to the tragic story.
I also thought the costumes for the leads were really lovely. Again, Juliet’s stood out, her dresses floating around her as she flew around the stage, and they were perfectly suited to an open air theatre, with the wind adding a bit of character. In fact, the ballet as whole was perfectly suited to an open air theatre as many of the pivotal scenes in the story happen outdoors.
Overall, I think training a stronger corps who can cope with more interesting choreography is needed for CTCB at this point. I know van Wyk to be an excellent choreographer, which is showcased with the lead solos and duets in this ballet, and so I can only assume that the simple choreography was created because the corps aren’t strong enough to take on something more challenging. A “premiere” South Africa ballet company dancing at that level isn’t appropriate.
However, under the stars, and the stage fit with fairy lights, there were moments of magic and that can’t be denied. You can book to see the Romeo and Juliet here.