Tamara Rojo performing Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet for Queensland Ballet.
Tamara Rojo performing Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet for Queensland Ballet. David Kelly/Queensland Ballet

Spanish ballerina shines as Juliet with Queensland Ballet

THE ethereal grace Tamara Rojo brings to her role as Juliet is simply breathtaking.

The Spanish ballerina's soft, elegant lines are mesmerising and her ability to convey emotion through dance is evident from the minute she arrives.

Even on a stage full of Queensland's finest ballet dancers delivering an unforgettable performance, her petite frame demands attention.

Rojo, who is adored the world over, seems to defy gravity as she slips seamlessly from the arms of one dancer to another.

Her youthful exuberance defies her 40 years.

The balcony pas de duex with Romeo - New Zealand born QB dancer Matthew Lawrence - is the most beautiful, intimate pairing in the three-act performance at the Lyric Theatre at QPAC.

The audience gets an almost voyeuristic insight into their developing romance.

Their chemistry is palpable as Romeo and Juliet's simmering desire for each other electrified the air.

This serves to create an empathy with the lovers, making their terrible fate that much more moving as it unfolds.

Rojo's pliability quickly takes an about face when her family tries to force her to take Count Paris' hand in marriage.

The ballet royal becomes as heavy and inflexible as dead wood when she dances with Paris - danced by Hao Bin.

Queensland Ballet dancers Vito Bernasconi and Matthew Lawrence (Tybalt and Romeo) face off in Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet.
Queensland Ballet dancers Vito Bernasconi and Matthew Lawrence (Tybalt and Romeo) face off in Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo & Juliet. David Kelly/Queensland Ballet

 

The complete contrast shows the diversity of Rojo's movement and emotional connection with her lovestruck character.

Queensland Ballet is presenting Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Shakespeare's tragic tale of star-crossed lovers for the first time in Australia.

Through chaotic sword-fights, grand dances and family drama, MacMillan lets the rich characters drive the narrative.

The costumes, the set and the music come together to create a magical night worth every penny.

The season, which runs until Saturday, coincides with the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth and 50th anniversary of the ballet's creation.

Guest stars Tamara Rojo, Carlos Acosta and Steven McRae perform with Queensland Ballet dancers as part of a state-funded initiative.

Also in the cast for selected performances are acclaimed Australian Ballet principal artist Daniel Gaudiello as
Mercutio and former principal Steven Heathcote as Lord Capulet.

QB artistic director Li Cunxin, who in 2003 published the award-winning autobiography Mao's Last Dancer, had always wanted to dance the McMillan masterpiece.

But he was just pleased his dancers had the chance to perform it alongside some of ballet's royalty.

"It's a story that makes us reflect, and will touch everyone who sees it," he said.

"With so many conflicts in today's world, it gives us a valuable lesson.

"People who see this ballet will never forget it."



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