Alls well that ends well for Bermuda Civic Ballet
In the words of William Shakespeare, alls well that ends well.
Well, when opening night of the Bermuda Civic Ballets presentation of Romeo and Juliet was totally washed out last Wednesday, more than a few ballet enthusiasts were hoping that the Bards words would ring true once again.
If the atmosphere and ambience around the closing night performance is anything to go by, then the ballets 40th anniversary celebration ended very well indeed.
A modest crowd of somewhere in the region of 250 people attended the closing night performance on Saturday night, and were treated to a sumptuous feast of plies, jetés, cabrioles, entrechats and assembles. The technical ability and grace of the dancers was impressive throughout the performance, but the thing that made this production uncommonly special was the expert use of the stunning setting.
The classic story of forbidden love was delivered under the stars at Fort Hamilton. The staging was simple, but the open air and dark indigo backdrop made the dancers luminous under the stage lighting. It was simply gorgeous; the kind of thing that should be available for consumption on a regular basis, like at least once a month or so.
There was literally one star in the cloudless sky when the show began. By the time Act 1 was coming to a close, a triangle of stars had formed directly behind the stage, and a few more lonely sparkles had revealed themselves. Then there was the smiling half-moon (sigh); it was like watching something that was simply meant to be — the perfect collaboration of nature and high human art.
There was pomp during the ball scene, when Tybalt (Silviu Tanase) pranced around the stage like the lord of the dance, firmly establishing his superior favour in fair Verona. There was treachery too, when Romeo (Tomislav Petranivic) wooed a blushing Juliet (Edina Plicanic) while Mercutio (Kristian Manev) distracted the curious nobles with a dazzling dance.
Romeo and Juliets dance would continue after the ball, as dances often do. The balcony scene brought beauty, grace, and elegance as the star-struck lovers danced alone, falling ever deeper into their own magical world.
Later, when Tybalt killed Mercutio with a blade meant for Romeo, there was drama, anger, and vengeance in Romeos response to his friends demise. Romeo killed Tybalt, as the story goes, and was therefore banished from Verona.
The familiarity of the story was not a hindrance to this performance at all. In fact, the wonderful setting and Svebor Secaks fluid choreography made the time-honoured material feel more alive than ever.
Mr Secak not only choreographed the piece, but he danced the part of Lord Capulet to great effect as well. Laura Hussy was fabulous as the emotional Lady Capulet, and Guilmerme Alves was pitch perfect as the melancholy Count Paris, whose desire to marry Juliet pushed her ever closer to her ultimate end.
Once Romeo was forced to leave forever, and the pressure to marry Count Paris was becoming overbearing, Juliet danced an enchanting death dance; a brilliant solo that was just mesmerising under the deep blue heavens. It would, of course, be her last dance.
This was a top notch, world-class production from beginning to end. From the setting, to the precise technical ability of the dancers (both local and foreign), to the subtle, sublime lighting, to the mood-regulating music; this was a stupendous way to spend a breezy summer Saturday night.
Magical, whimsical, mystical; closing night at Fort Hamilton was something akin to what Shakespeare might have described as A Midsummer Nights Dream. (I do recognise that we are firmly in the late portion of summer in Bermuda, but Im sure you get my meaning). Bravo Bermuda Civic Ballet, and heres to 40 more glorious years.