Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

A New Romeo And Juliet Film Is Happening And We're Freaking Out

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:


Ever better: It features Royal Ballet first soloist William Bracewell and principal Francesca Hayward as the star-crossed lovers, along with other Royal favorites like Matthew Ball and Marcelino Sambé. (It's a big year for Hayward on the big screen: In December she will star as Victoria in the CATS film.) Former Royal Ballet dancers and BalletBoyz founders Michael Nunn and William Trevitt—who have their fair share of experience with dance films—will direct and stage MacMillan's choreography.

It looks like the ballet is slightly abridged: The film runs 90 minutes and is set to a unique cut of the Prokofiev score recorded by the Royal Opera House orchestra.

Currently the film is scheduled to premiere as a one-night-only event at cinemas throughout England on December 16, but our fingers are crossed for a stateside and/or digital release.

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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