The Company performs Sir Frederick Ashton’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s quintessential play,
a seminal work in Ashton’s choreographic canon rarely seen
Sarasota, FL (March 12, 2020) – The romance of spring blossoms at The Sarasota Ballet with their performances of Sir Frederick Ashton’s adaptation of Romeo & Juliet this 27-28 March at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Created for the Royal Danish Ballet in 1955, Ashton’s Romeo & Juliet is an intimate version of William Shakespeare’s iconic story with a distinct emphasis on Ashton’s signature footwork and wit. A full-length work and Company Premiere for The Sarasota Ballet, Romeo & Juliet places the Company’s dramatic abilities on full display while dancing to Sergei Prokofiev’s magnificent score, as performed live by the Sarasota Orchestra. This program continues The Sarasota Ballet’s initiative to bring full-length ballets to the Sarasota stage, such as Sir Peter Wright’s Giselle this past Season.
“It is an honor to bring Sir Frederick Ashton’s remarkable Romeo & Juliet to the stage here,” says Iain Webb, Director of The Sarasota Ballet. “In so many ways Sir Fred’s choreography has been the reason The Sarasota Ballet has gained the recognition we have, it is the reason we are invited to perform across the US, and so it felt quite fitting for us to bring his production of Romeo & Juliet into the repertoire of the Company.” Webb adds, “We are grateful to Peter Schaufuss for giving us permission to perform this ballet. Ashton gifted Peter his Romeo & Juliet, not only because Sir Fred had created the roles of Juliet and Mercutio on Peter’s parents Mona Vangsaae and Frank Schaufuss, but also because Peter himself was so instrumental in reviving the ballet with both English National Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet during his tenure as Director.”
Luke Schaufuss, Peter’s son, who joined The Sarasota Ballet as a Principal this Season, continues the family’s heritage and connection with Ashton’s Romeo & Juliet. As well as performing the role created on his grandfather—Mercutio, Luke has been working with repetiteur Marilyn Vella-Gatt to bring Sir Frederick Ashton’s Romeo & Juliet to life this Season.
When crafting his take on the classic tale, Sir Frederick Ashton focused on the “intimate tragedy of two young people caught in an all-consuming passion” (David Vaughan, Frederick Ashton and his Ballets, 1977). Reviewing the ballet in 1988 for The New York Times, esteemed dance critic Jack Anderson wrote that, “Sir Frederick effectively shatters artifice, contrasting the innocuous peasants with brawling street fighters, and his leading characters are vividly conceived.” Infused with Ashton’s musicality and penchant for beautiful and heart-fluttering pas de deux, Romeo & Juliet evidences Ashton’s choreographic genius and ability to portray the nature of humanity through dance.
The Sarasota Ballet’s performances of Romeo & Juliet are sponsored by Sarasota Magazine and BMO Wealth Management.
Performance Schedule and Ticket Information
27 – 28 March 2020
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Friday, 27 March 2020 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, 28 March 2020 at 2:00 PM
Saturday, 28 March 2020 at 7:30 PM
Romeo & Juliet
Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton
Music by Sergei Prokofiev
Individual tickets for Romeo & Juliet, starting at $30, are on sale now at www.SarasotaBallet.org or by calling 941.359.0099.
About The Sarasota Ballet
Since 1990, the mission of The Sarasota Ballet has been enriching lives, captivating emotions, and strengthening the community through the art of dance. Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb, Executive Director Joseph Volpe, and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri, The Sarasota Ballet has received national and international recognition for its diverse repertoire of rarely performed ballets, as well as the integrity and artistry of its performances. The Company’s expanded repertoire includes works by world-renowned choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Sir Matthew Bourne, Dame Ninette de Valois, Michel Fokine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Rudolf Nureyev, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor, and Christopher Wheeldon. During Webb’s tenure, The Sarasota Ballet has been invited to perform twice at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and twice at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, as well as week-long residencies at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater in New York. In May 2017 The Sarasota Ballet performed at the inaugural National Choreographic Festival in Salt Lake City and in August of 2018 returned to the Joyce Theater for another sold out week-long residency.