There were moments when Juliano Toscano and I thought our chance to perform as Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t come – our fate was for some reason not written in the stars and as more and more performances were crossed off and our names still not appearing to dance the next one, we felt the opportunity slipping away from us. Then suddenly with just two weeks notice (an insanely short amount of time to prepare for such a big ballet), our director gave us the date and we were moving, full steam ahead.
We worked so hard in the studio, with the guiding hands and eyes of our ballet mistress, often having eleven hour days in the theatre, not only preparing for this but learning another new ballet alongside it. However, despite the long hours and other responsibilities, it never really felt like work. We were both so eager to do it, pushing any doubt out of our minds that we couldn’t. We found ourselves supporting each other endlessly, which was a welcomed surprise as we hadn’t danced so much together previously. The chemistry found between us when learning the choreography at the beginning of the season with all the other casts was still there. Along with that, each day the technical aspects improved as well as us both slowly finding ways of developing the characters.
With a blink of an eye, we were ready and the stage was waiting. We both felt confident in each other that we would manage it and even more certain that we were going to enjoy every moment. And that, my friends, we certainly did. The moment for the curtain to go up on our premiere came so fast we didn’t even have time to really question anything. And with this happening more and more often to me I am definitely learning that it can be a good thing to not be too prepared for performing – the nerves don’t have time to grow and you can relax more into the role, which is much more important that anything else.
And what a time we had bringing Kenneth MacMillan’s masterpiece to life. We just buzzed from beginning to end and the energy between us was electric. I have so many special moments to remember, not to mention my necklace breaking to pieces and pearls falling all over the stage during my solo, causing a minor heart attack and images of me going flying to the floor during the ball scenes. For me, the most magical one was the famous ‘Balcony pas de deux’ between the star-crossed lovers at the end of act two, which is honestly pure magic on stage. I have never enjoyed a pas de deux so much. Unforgettable.
Not only does the couple experience unbelievable moments together, Juliet has a very powerful third act to uphold and playing her was so intense. Starting as an innocent girl and growing into a passionate, daring young woman, experiencing an overwhelming love alongside sudden loneliness and desperation makes the ballet a true journey for the dancer. Ending with the dramatic and moving death scene I closed the ballet with tears streaming and my heart pounding. It was overwhelming.
“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight, for I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”
Having my family and friends in the audience and on stage alongside me, ballet had once more filled my heart with pure joy and happiness while dancing another momentous role in my career. With the support of them and the team effort from my partner, it was an honour to dance the greatest love story ever told. I cannot wait to do it all again.