Joffrey Ballet offers passionate 'Romeo and Juliet'

2014-05-05T16:45:00Z 2014-05-05T18:30:20Z Joffrey Ballet offers passionate 'Romeo and Juliet'Eloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Tragic lovers Romeo and Juliet are fully alive on stage this week at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre.

Shakespeare's classic tale of love found and lost and universal family relationships is bursting with new energy courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet.

The beloved ballet "Romeo and Juliet" is currently being stamped with a modern touch through May 11 in Chicago. The production, choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor, is celebrating its U.S. premiere with this Joffrey production. It closes The Joffrey Ballet's 2013-14 "Masters of Dance" series.

Pastor originally crafted his modern take on "Rome and Juliet" for the Scottish Ballet in 2008.

On Wednesday's opening night, Joffrey dancers once again showcased their immense talents with a classic production and at the same time made it stand out as a one-of-a-kind theatrical work.

Pastor's updated take on the story is fascinating as it's set in various decades spanning from the 1930s through the 1990s. Video screen backdrops showcase happenings and historical events from different eras as the Capulet and Montague tale unfolds.

The choreographer also keeps Romeo and Juliet in the same costumes throughout the piece while other characters change their apparel. Pastor said, due to Romeo and Juliet's "timeless" nature, he wanted them to look the same for the duration of the three-act ballet.

Set to Prokofiev's lush score, The Joffrey's "Romeo and Juliet" is a winner. From the emotional, theatrical performances of the dancers to the creative, innovative set and the stunning choreography by Pastor, this production deserves applause in every department.

Christine Rocas as Juliet infuses her performance with a great deal of passion and she's a perfect match for Rory Hohenstein's energetic Romeo. The couple never miss tugging at an audience member's heartstrings.

Other highlighted performances include Fabrice Calmels as Lord Capulet, who's a powerhouse of a performer and April Daly as Lady Capulet, Yoshihisa Arai as Mercutio and Temur Sulashvili as Tybalt.

FYI: The Joffrey Ballet performs "Romeo and Juliet" through May 11 at The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Tickets are $31 to $152. For tickets, call (800) 982-2787 or visit ticketmaster.com.

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