Oh, Romeo

When it comes to choreographing a ballet, there’s a lot of wiggle room: The ballet’s choreographer interprets a composer’s score, making the dance you see one step removed from the original. In the case of the Colorado Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet, it’s yet another step removed — from Shakespeare, the original author of the play, to Sergei Prokofiev, the composer, and finally to Alun Jones, the choreographer.

Interestingly, the approach Jones takes, says Colorado Ballet spokeswoman Katrina Tamminga, is to be as faithful as possible to the text, essentially trying to mesh it with the music (which will be played by a live orchestra at each performance). “So when Shakespeare says, ‘Be still,’ the dancers are still,” Tamminga explains.

"It’s a great ballet for people who have never seen ballet, because everyone knows the story and it’s easy to follow,” she adds — particularly since subtitles on the seat backs will keep you posted if you lose track. “It follows the storyline very closely.”

The production, which wraps up Colorado Ballet’s fiftieth season, opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; performances continue through March 6. For a full schedule, tickets ($19 to $135) and information, call 303-837-8888 or visit www.coloradoballet.org.
Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Feb. 25. Continues through March 6, 2011