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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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020