DAYTON, OH (March 4, 2016) – On Friday, April 1, 2016 at 8 pm; Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 8 pm; and Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 3 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, the Dayton Ballet, under the leadership of Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke, is thrilled to present Romeo and Juliet, the fourth and final ballet of the 2015–2016 Ascend Season. The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the leadership of Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, will provide Sergei Prokofiev’s enthralling score as the sixth concert in the DPAA’s 2015–2016 Premier Health Classical Series.
Innovation Partner for this performance is the Hampden W. and Erma R. Catterton Charitable Trust. Performance Sponsor is Susan S. Kettering, and Supporting Sponsor is Enterprise Roofing & Sheet Metal. DPAA’s Innovation Partner for this 2015-2016 Ascend Season is the DP&L Foundation: Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the oldest and most well-known tragic love stories ever put to pen. The love story between Romeo and Juliet is set against the background of a deep conflict between the young lovers’ two families – the Montagues and the Capulets. Shakespeare’s melodrama has been told many times in both art and music, but perhaps none as beautifully and as emotionally as with dance in the famous story ballet set to the opulent score composed by Sergei Prokofiev.
“Romeo and Juliet is one of the most beautiful scores of the 20th century, and certainly one of the greatest compositions for the ballet stage, on a par with the great Tchaikovsky ballets.” (npr.org). Prokofiev composed the music for Romeo and Juliet for Russia’s Kirov Ballet in 1935. Unlike Shakespeare’s tragic play, Prokofiev’s plan with its original composition was for the ballet to end happily, “with Juliet resurrected in her tomb in a joyous pas de deux for the two lovers.” (101 Stories of the Great Ballets by Georges Balanchine and Francis Moon) He received great criticism for this approach, and ultimately, his composition, and the subsequent storytelling though dance by renowned choreographers, kept the piece true to Shakespeare’s tragic ending.
Set to original choreography by Septime Webre, Romeo and Juliet comes to life on the Mead Theatre Stage of the world-class Schuster Center under the careful attention of Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke. The full Dayton Ballet company takes the stage to tell the dramatic tale with breathtaking athleticism, creativity, and movement inspired by Prokofiev’s masterful score. Joining Dayton Ballet to help set Webre’s captivating choreography are Sharon Neumeister, Dayton Ballet Rehearsal Assistant, and Richard Grund, Northern Illinois University Professor of Dance. Both Neumeister and Grund are former dancers with Dayton Ballet, and, in fact, Grund danced the role of Romeo with Dayton Ballet in the company’s previous production of Romeo and Juliet in November 2005.
The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO), under the leadership of Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, joins Dayton Ballet to present this riveting story ballet. The DPO takes the audience on the desperate journey of Prokofiev’s score, thorough youth and age, through the lightness of love, the rawness of intense outrage and violence, and the sadness and anguish of death. “This is a play that ends unhappily, but it contains some extraordinary music along the way to its tragic ending.” (npr.org) And the Dayton Philharmonic pulls at our hearts with every note of Prokofiev’s masterpiece.
With the DPO providing the music as the backdrop, Dayton Ballet masterfully tells the story of the star-crossed lovers whose well-known fate is filled with sorrow. In stunning costumes by A. Christina Giannini and a gorgeous new set by Ray Zupp, Dayton Ballet dancers bring the story to life, complete with spectacular partnering, outstanding solos, masterful sword-fighting, an exquisite pas de deux, and a heartwrenching conclusion that will leave you desperate for this story to end happily–just this once.
Before each performance, Ms. Burke will hold a pre-performance talk called “The First Step,” giving audience members a more in-depth look at the upcoming performance and a behind-the-scenes peek at Dayton Ballet. “The First Step” will be held one hour prior to curtain time for each performance in the lobby of the Upper Balcony of the Schuster Center. “Behind the Ballet,” a Q&A with dancers that gives audiences the opportunity to learn more about the life of a dancer with Dayton Ballet, will follow each performance in the theatre. “The First Step” and “Behind the Ballet” sessions are free of charge for all ticketholders.
Tickets for Romeo and Juliet are $11 to $61 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and student discounts available at box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.