Civic Ballet presentation of Romeo and Juliet to be choreographed by Croatian ballet dancer
Ballet might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but an upcoming performance of Romeo and Juliet is promising to be an entertainment spectacular for the whole community.
Bermuda Civic Ballet is to stage a production of William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy under the stars in honour of its 40th anniversary.
The ballet company has invited Svebor Seak, principal dancer of the Croatian National Theatre, to choreograph the production at Fort Hamilton from August 22 to 25.
Mr Seak produced a “small-scale performance” of Hamlet at Fort St Catherine’s in St George’s three years ago.
He said this year’s staging of Shakespeare’s great love story would be bigger and better, featuring some of the world’s most highly acclaimed dancers from Austria, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria and Australia.
He also plans to use the skills of dozens of local talents - ballet and salsa dancers, actors, martial artists and even fencing club members.
Mr Seak was on Island last week for the first round of auditions. Madame Patricia Deane-Gray, who founded Bermuda Civic Ballet, will take over auditions until mid-July.
“It’s going to be quite a large cast and there’s lots of excitement going on,” she said.
“It is outdoors under the stars again. We used to have it so that each year we would do a performance at Government House under the stars in the garden and this is what we are starting again.”
She said the venue at Fort Hamilton was “vast” and explained they were planning to use the entire space to their advantage.
Mr Seak said the ballet would be “a unique opportunity” for audiences to see a large-scale performance of this kind.
“The music is excellent, and I really got the best dancers that I could and I think that all together it could be a very spectacular event.
“Most certainly I am sure that anyone who will come there will find it interesting.
“Some of them may be looking more for the choreography or some spectacular scenes, while others will enjoy listening to the music, following the plot or just enjoy an evening outdoors and being entertained.”
An actor will explain parts of the play to help people follow along.
“It will be put in a narrative frame so that everyone can understand. Even small children or people who are not very familiar with Shakespeare or forgot, they won’t be left out of the picture,” he said.
“It’s not only for ballet lovers, but for anyone interested in Shakespeare, operas or being entertained in general.
“But it’s not just entertainment, it’s more than this because we want to make a piece of art. I think the people who came to our show three years ago were rather satisfied with the choreography, but this time they will get to see their locals, relatives and children [involved as well].”
Mr Seak said he was excited to start checking out local ballet schools and meet some of the young people pursuing dance on the Island.
He said this would be a great opportunity for them to gain some stage experience and learn by watching some of the industry’s best performers.
“The site is fabulous and I tend to use it in a film-like manner, where I use different sites for different scenes so I hope it will be spectacular,” he said.
“I am very excited. I have been planning for several months now because we have to think of the right style of choreography and find the dancers and everything.
“So now I am here to check the locals, but will be going back to Zagreb to complete the choreography there, so this year will be mostly marked with this [project] for me.”
Tickets for the event won’t be available until two weeks before the performance, Mrs Deane-Gray said.
She encouraged people to plan ahead to attend, adding: “We are trying to get it out in the open early so people can plan accordingly.
“A lot of people go for a trip, but if they want to see the ballet they will come back two days early, for example. Or others may leave two days after if their children want to see it. It will be something for everyone in the local community.
She continued: “If you are interested in dance, arts or just an entertaining evening this is ballet under the stars again. It was very, very popular when we were having it at Government House all those years ago.”
Sir John Swan, who was the chairman of Bermuda Civic Ballet for 25 years, will be the patron of the upcoming Romeo and Juliet.
Jerome Dill has been Bermuda Civic Ballet chairman for the past 15 years.
Dancers, actors or performers who want to audition must do so by July 20. Telephone Mrs Deane-Gray on 236-1067.