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Romeo and Juliet Opens Tonight to Close Miami City Ballet's Silver Anniversary

William Shakespeare's historic love story Romeo and Juliet makes its Miami City Ballet debut this weekend as the MCB's 25th anniversary season comes to a close. Artistic Director Edward Villella wanted to finish with a major work and John Cranko's 1962 ballet version of the classic surely fits the bill.

Live music by The Opus One Orchestra accompanies MCB for the ballet, opening in Miami this Friday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Budgeted at $1.5 million, it's MCB's most expensive production yet.

Cranko's Romeo and Juliet burns with dramatic intensity: Lady Capulet's

mourning of Tybalt and Juliet's final discovery of Romeo hold particular

weight. But in its lighter moments, the ballet is rich with wit and

humor. Soaring lifts, fluid transitions between steps, and youthful

characterizations of the two lovers make Cranko's version one of the

most important ever choreographed to Prokofiev's score.

At MCB,

narrative ballets don't appear too frequently. The company hopes to

introduce new audiences to ballet by presenting a story that's so well

known and it can't wait to perform the first Cranko ballet in their

92-work repertory. The late South African choreographer innovated

theater and storytelling in dance.

For some dancers, playing

Romeo or Juliet would be a dream-come-true. For opening-night leads

Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra, whose own love story turned out

far happier as they are married in real life, it's been just that.

Relates Guerra, "I can identify with [Romeo's] surprise at finding true

love, almost like he didn't think it really existed until he actually

found himself falling into it!"

Program IV: Romeo and Juliet

opens this week at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

(1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tickets cost $20-170. Call 877-929-7010 or

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Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

visit miamicityballet.org or the arshtcenter.org. Friday at 7 p.m.;

Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

By Emily Hite, artburstmiami.com

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