Birmingham Royal Ballet is today delighted to announce that Rosie Kay Dance Company’s Romeo + Juliet will be performed as part of the Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined double bill at Birmingham Hippodrome this October. The piece received its world premiere yesterday (8 September) at Birmingham Hippodrome, with The Guardian saying, ‘its youthful urgency, energy and high emotion hit home.’
A new re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Rosie Kay Dance Company’s Romeo + Juliet sets the action in the hot Birmingham summer of 2021. In this diverse city, young people’s family loyalties give way to gang allegiance as teenagers play with adult rules. A party in the park gets out of control sparking rumours, rioting and revenge. In the midst of rivalries, first tastes of freedom and sparks of a full-on first love ignite. Two young lovers are led to their tragic deaths by events they can’t control.
The 75-minute performance is set to Birmingham-based composer Annie Mahtani’s soundtrack which blends Berlioz’s classical Roméo et Juliette score with her original electro-acoustic composition. For these performances only, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia (under the baton of Martin Georgiev) join the Rosie Kay Dance Company to play the Berlioz score live, adding an additional and thrilling new dimension to the performance.
Romeo + Juliet was created collaboratively by choreographer and director Rosie Kay and the original cast of nine dancer-choreographers skilled in contemporary, street and Indian classical dance styles: Mayowa Ogunnaike, Subhash Viman Gorania, David Devyne, Deepraj Singh, Iona McGuire, Harry Ondrak-Wright, Dan Baines, Ayesha Fazal and Patrick Webster.
Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined also sees Romeo and Juliet get a very different treatment in Romanian choreographer Edward Clug's Radio and Juliet, a reinvention of the classic story set to the music of Radiohead, featuring tracks from Kid A, Amnesiac and OK Computer. This version explores what could have happened if Juliet decided not to take her own life, and is an exhilarating, emotional rollercoaster that has toured the world to widespread acclaim since its premiere in 2005.
Carlos Acosta, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet said: ‘Shakespeare’s timeless story of love and passion has inspired so many versions over the centuries, not least translated into dance. I’m thrilled that we’ll be joined by the talented Rosie Kay Dance Company, who alongside our Company dancers, will help audiences explore some of this rich reinterpretation in our double bill Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined.’
Rosie Kay, Artistic Director of Rosie Kay Dance Company said: ‘We are delighted to be invited by Carlos to join with Birmingham Royal Ballet for this truly unique double-bill with our brand-new Romeo + Juliet, which premiered just yesterday. The work of Shakespeare is more relevant than ever, and this programme will be a real treat for Birmingham audiences to experience not one but two striking interpretations of this classic tragedy. This will be our first performance with live orchestra, and we’re excited to have the Berlioz score performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia alongside Annie Mahtani’s original electro-acoustic soundtrack. To see our incredible cast of nine dancer-choreographers alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet’s extraordinarily talented cast of Radio and Juliet will be a huge moment in RKDC’s history and for the Birmingham dance community.’
Image: Mayowa Ogunnaike and Subhash Viman Gorania as Romeo and Juliet;Photographer: Brian Slate