Romeo and Juliet

Nacho Duato

Romeo and Juliet is the first full-length ballet by Compañía Nacional de Danza. The piece is divided in two acts, based on Prokofiev's music and with the choreography of its Artistic Director, Nacho Duato. The choreography has been designed faithfully respecting Shakespeare's drama. The thirty dancers who compose the Compañía's cast will perform this new creation.

  • World premiere by Compañía Nacional de Danza: at Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Santander (Spain), January 8th 1998

The general concept of the work, in terms of scenography, costumes, lighting and, of course, choreography, is Nacho Duato’s original idea. For this work, he has been able to count on several assistants, including: Lourdes Frías, for costume design, Pablo Rueda and Carles Pujol of the Centre Cultural Sant Cugat, for the design and carrying out of the choreography, and Nicolás Fischtel for light design.

Romeo and Juliet is, doubtlessly, a challenge for Duato as a choreographer, as well as for all those involved in its staging. Mar Baudesson and Kim McCarthy will head the cast as Juliet and Romeo, respectively. The rest of the cast will involve all of the Compañía’s dancers. This is the first ballet in two acts created by Nacho Duato. As he himself admits, the idea of creating a ballet based on this work of Shakespeare’s has been in his mind for many years. But it is now, in his maturity as a creator, and counting on the members of the Compañía Nacional de Danza’s cast, who are perfectly in harmony with his artistic line, when he has decided to take this important step in his career as a choreographer.

Prokofiev was commissioned to write Romeo and Juliet by the Bolshoi in 1934. The score was completed by the Autumn of 1935 but several difficulties arose and the staging of the ballet was postponed. Finally, Prokofiev’s score was converted into a ballet for the first time in Brno, then Czechoslovakia, with Viania Psota’s choreography, in December 1938, while the Kirov staged it for the first time somewhat later, on the 11th January, 1940, with Leonid Lavrosvsky’s choreography. In later years, the ballet’s popularity increased irresistibly and was incorporated into the repertoire of all, or practically all, Soviet companies.

Romeo and Juliet’s story has been treated by many famous choreographers, even without Prokofiev’s music. In Duato’s case, he attempts a more humanistic approach to the story of the lovers of Verona, bringing it somehow closer- always through movement- to present-day men and women. The complexity of the drama lived by the main characters of Shakespeare’s tragedy, the whirlwind of ideas and passions, as well as the intensity of feelings, require the ballet to encompass a subtle fusion of choreographical and theatrical languages, giving, as a result, a representation where the characters, emotion and passion are expressed by the ballet dancer’s body movements. Duato’s work, therefore, focuses on the expression of Shakespeare’s romantic drama through dance in its own right and tries to discard all superfluous elements which could relegate to a second place what has always been his priority: expression through movement. This translates into a direct and human language, thus rapidly creating feeling around the story, progressing in crescendo upto its tragic ending.

For Duato, this version of Romeo and Juliet ought not to remain simply in the particular story of the lovers of Verona, but rather he wishes to point out to the spectator something more universal, which was always there in Shakespeare’s drama: the story that tells us how passion and love can prevail over terrible obstacles, overcoming the barriers of hatred and incomprehension which frequently separate human beings. It is therefore a story for all seasons which has something to say to present- day men and women about their reality.


  • Choregraphy:
    Nacho Duato
  • Music:
    Sergei Prokofiev
  • Musical Performance:
    Bohemian Symphony Orchestra, Pedro Alcalde (conductor)
  • Set Design:
    Carles Pujol y Pau Rueda
  • Costume Design:
    Lourdes Frías
  • Lighting Design:
    Nicolás Fischtel (A.A.I) – after an original design by Miguel Ángel Camacho
  • Set made by:
    Centre Cultural Sant Cugat Workshops
  • Costume made by:
    CND wardrobe
  • Running time:
    2 hours
  • Premiere cast:
    Mar Baudesson (Julieta), Kim Mccarthy (Romeo), Emmanuelle Berard (Sra. Capuleto, madre de Julieta), Thomas Klein (Capuleto, padre de Julieta), Luis Martín Oya (Mercurio), Patrick de Bana (Tibalt), Yoko Taira (Nodriza), José Cruz (Paris), Sebastien Mari (Benvolio). De la casa Capuleto: Bertha Bermúdez, Nathalie Buisson, Eva López Crevillén, Ruth Maroto, Muriel Romero, Alexandra Scott, Lesley Telford, José A. Beguiristain, Niccolo Fonte, Demond Hart, Livio Panieri. De la casa Montesco: Iratxe Ansa, Emmanuelle Broncin, África Guzmán, Catherine Habasque, Cristina Hortigüela, Elia Lozano, Antonio Calero, Toni Fabre, Nicolás Maire, Ivano Rossetti