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How stage swordfights are choreographed (The Royal Ballet)

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Published on Mar 22, 2012

The sword fights featured in Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet are some of the fiercest in ballet. Find out more at http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/rom...

Kenneth MacMillan poignant setting of Sergey Prokofiev’s classic score draws out the emotional and psychological intensity of the tale. Romeo and Juliet contains three passionate pas de deux: the lovers’ first meeting, the famous balcony scene and the devastating final tragedy, in which Romeo dances desperately with the lifeless Juliet. The story is set against a wonderful evocation of 16th-century Verona, and includes a bustling marketplace that erupts into a violent sword fight, and a lavish ball held in an elegant mansion.

MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet first arrived at Covent Garden in 1965. Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn took the title roles on the opening night – MacMillan had originally created the work on Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable. Nevertheless, Fonteyn and Nureyev’s performance had a rapturous reception, with 43 curtain calls and almost forty minutes of applause. The ballet has been at the heart of the Company’s repertory ever since, amassing more than four hundred performances. This classic production has been toured around the world and in 2011 was adapted for arena-scale performances at the O2 Arena.

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