CULTURE

English National Ballet to dance eternal love

The English National Ballet will stage «Romeo and Juliet» at the Herod Atticus Theater on September 10, 11 and 12. The performance, inspired by Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy and originally choreographed by the late Rudolf Nureyev, focuses on depicting society at the time of the Renaissance and reveals that tragedy is an integral part of social reality. A combination of great names, Sergei Prokofiev’s music, Nureyev’s choreography and leading dancers Simone Clarke, Daria Klimentova, Yat-Sen Chang and Dmitri Grunzdyev, is bound to make the performance a hit with Greek audiences. The production is a joint collaboration between the Arts Center of Halandri and the American Community Schools of Athens and is being staged as part of the Athens Festival. It is not surprising that this work of Shakespeare’s keeps inspiring choreographers to create their own ballet, always coloring the events with particular intensity. The music adds to the beat and atmosphere. Rudolf Nureyev presented his own choreographic version back in 1977, while also dancing the part of Romeo with the London Festival Ballet, which has since changed its name to the English National Ballet. Nureyev’s choreography treats the work not just as a tribute to eternal love, but probes deep into the characters of all the leading persons. The ballet starts off suddenly with death scenes, street fights and duels and unravels the feud between the two families. Nureyev remained true to the story, incorporating different dance styles and combining elements of ballet and modern dance in an inventive choreography and a clever mise-en-scene. The production’s rich and impressive sets and costumes, which reflect the Italian atmosphere at the time, were designed by Ezio Frigerio especially for this performance. The English National Ballet, which continues to tour all over the world, has dancers from 20 countries who are selected after careful scrutiny. Shakespeare’s «Romeo and Juliet» has also inspired acclaimed theater and film directors, including filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli, who, in his 1968 film version, used actors of the same age as Shakespeare’s characters and featured the then 14-year-old Olivia Hussey as Juliet. The Herod Atticus Theater is situated at the Dionysiou Areopagitou promenade, below the Acropolis, near the Acropolis metro station. Tickets can be purchased at the Hellenic Festival box office, at 39 Panepistimiou (tel 210.928.2900).