Ballet review: Romeo and Juliet, Stirling

Ballet West are about to step into the big league. Picture:  Ryan Davies
Ballet West are about to step into the big league. Picture: Ryan Davies
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Taynuilt-based company Ballet West is primarily a dance school, offering high calibre undergraduate training. So it comes as no surprise to find that the standard on stage, although always high, demonstrates promise rather than perfection. The set changes, too, could benefit from some speed and polish.

Ballet West: Romeo and Juliet - Macrobert, Stirling

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All is forgiven, however, when technically superb principal dancers Sara-Maria and Jonathan Barton enter the stage. Quite apart from being the best advertisement Ballet West has for its courses (both of them trained there, before dancing with the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet among others) the duo pour their heart and soul into the lead roles of Romeo and Juliet.

Playful and innocent at first, Sara-Maria blossoms into a young woman in love, broken by the death of her new husband.

Jonathan has the capacity to convey myriad emotions, strong enough to carry past the footlights yet subtle enough to remain real.

Fellow professional Philip King also lights up the stage, with his endlessly jovial Mercutio. Along with student Owen Morris as Tybalt, the two men deliver a genuinely exciting fight scene – followed by a stunning portrayal of grief by final year student Katherine Blyth as Lady Capulet.

About to step into the big league by playing Glasgow SECC, Ballet West has much to thank choreographer Daniel F Job for. Whether it’s a lively ensemble dance or passionate pas de deux, he ensures this talented bunch of dancers have as much enjoyment on stage as we do watching them.

Seen on 30.01.15