When to see it
Romeo and Juliet fall deeply in love, but their families are engaged in a vicious feud. A street skirmish brings Romeo into conflict with Juliet's cousin Tybalt – with horrifying consequences.
Leonid Lavrovsky's Romeo and Juliet is the iconic 20th-century Russian ballet. Lavrovsky was part of the original creative team that developed Prokofiev's score – now one of the most popular modern ballet scores. Prokofiev was originally commissioned by the Bolshoi, but they rejected his work citing the 'undanceable' rhythms. It wasn't until 1940 that the score was heard in Russia, with the Mariinsky dancing Lavrovsky's choreography. The premiere marked a new era in Soviet ballet, in which Lavrovsky was the pioneer.
Prokofiev's score pushed Lavrovsky to include innovative techniques, drawing on several different dance styles and varying magnificent crowd scenes with intimate pas de deux. Lavrovsky also made extensive use of expressive mime to introduce greater realism, and the result captures the lovers' emotions with agonizing clarity.