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"These violent delights have violent ends, and
in their triumph die, like fire and powder, which
as they kiss consume."
Never have words more aptly described
such a tragic tale of forbidden love. These
famous lines come from arguably the world's
most celebrated and loved tragedies --
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Everyone knows the story; two star-
crossed lovers meet and instantly fall in love.
However, with their families desperate to
keep them apart, Romeo and Juliet's love is
Now the Royal New Zealand Ballet, with
the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, are
bringing this captivating love story back to
the stage. Artistic director of the Royal New
Zealand Ballet, Gary Harris, has worked the
world over as a dancer, teacher, répétiteur
"My whole career has been in dance, I
guess. I started as a dancer, and then became
a teacher, rehearsal director, associate
director...each position giving me the
experience to do the job of artistic director,"
Born in London, he trained at the Arts
Educational and the Royal Ballet Schools,
joined the London Festival Ballet in 1978
and was one of the company's leading
dancers until he left in 1985. Since taking
on the role of artistic director in 2001, he
has restaged Swan Lake, Paquita Variations,
Coppelia and Giselle.
Mr Harris was instrumental in bringing
Romeo and Juliet to audiences across the
world and when asked why Canberrans
should see this production, Mr Harris said
because it is "a great piece of theatre. There's
wonderful dancing and some of the best
music you're ever likely to hear. This ballet's
got it all -- great characters, good punch ups,
tenderness, fun, sadness...the works."
On the opening night of Romeo and Juliet
at Sadler's Wells in London in 2004, he was
"ner vous as all hell, with every who's who
from the dance world was in the audience.
Such a buzz, when the orchestra started and
the curtain went up. The company danced
their hearts out and gave such a good show.
I was very proud."
"I've always loved anything involved
with theatre, and then once I'd seen ballet...
that was it. I was fascinated by the beauty,
strength and the other worldliness of it.
The make-up, costumes and shoes. All very
weird and I was curious to find out more.
The only thing I wanted to do was be a
dancer. I've been lucky enough to be able to
continue with a career in dance my whole
life and I can't think of anything else I'd
rather be doing," he said.
His passion for this powerful ballet was
shared by a talented team of professionals,
who joined together to produce an award-
winning masterpiece that continues to
amaze audiences across the world.
Choreographer Christopher Hampson
worked with Mr Harris to create a visual
and electrifying staging of Romeo and Juliet
that was first performed by the Royal New
Zealand Ballet in 2003 and, following a
l v rs
JONI SCANLON spoke to the artistic director
of the Royal New Zealand Ballet about the
work and passion involved in bringing a
story of love and loss to the stage.
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