One of the many highlights of my trip to New York City this summer was going to The Metropolitan Opera House and seeing Romeo and Juliet performed by the American Ballet Theatre. Saturday, June 25, 2016, 2:00pm was a day that I had planned since the beginning of the year to see Misty Copeland star as Juliet in this production.
There were so many people at Lincoln Center that afternoon and it felt like we were all there to see Misty Copeland. As I waited outside to go in I was thinking this theatre must be huge to accommodate all these people and it was magnificently gigantic. I was sitting in the Family Circle which was the highest balcony, but not to worry because everything on the stage was bigger than life, the set, the costumes, the dramatic story telling, everything was GRAND.
Ballerinas are theatrical actors. Yes the dancing technique was on point but that is expected. These dancer were telling the story of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays and I felt every emotion times ten. The deaths, the nerves, the apprehensions, the love, the loss, I could see it all. Dancers are actors.
The deaths were remarkably done in this production. When Mercutio, danced by Craig Salstein, got killed I think it took him 5 minutes to go down, stumbling, leaping and falling across the stage. Another notable death was when Romeo, Daniil Simkin, first finds Juliet in the tomb and dances with her lifeless body across the stage, tossing her in the air and making her dance because he cannot believe she is gone, but when she comes back to life it is too late.
Fortunately for me my evening did not end at the standing ovation curtain call, where my mother and I were in tears. I was able to go back stage to see Misty Copeland, meet some of the dancers, and run into some other historical trailblazers.
Romeo Daniil Simkin
My Mother, Juliet Misty Copeland, and I
Raven Wilkinson (the first African American woman to dance for a major ballet company in 1955 when she signed with Ballet Russo de Monte Carlo) and I
If you have never been to the ballet I strongly suggest going. There are professional ballet companies all over the country. Open your mind up to one of many classical dance art forms.