To celebrate Valentine’s day, I am teaching a special ballet workshop on Saturday, February 14th where we will learn a dance from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. The ballerina most associated with this ballet is Alessandra Ferri. She was a principal ballerina with American Ballet Theater until she retired a few years ago. I loved her as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. She was fearless! In the scene when Juliet runs off stage to go to the Friar’s house, she was so distraught, so overcome with grief as Juliet that as she sped off stage arching back as she ran, she hit the set! She covered well, but couldn’t hide her bleeding shoulder and leg in the crypt scene!
But my favorite story about her is also why I think she was such an incredible performer. It was the first time I saw her dance, and it was a three act program at the Met in Lincoln Center. The first act featured a lovely blond dancer who did a lively variation. She was pretty and perky and perfect and the audience was thrilled and clapped excitedly. The next was Paloma Herrera doing her signature Don Quixote variation. She was dynamic and sexy and powerful. When she was done the audience was ecstatic and there was a hum of reverence and they clapped louder this time and with great respect. The third part featured Alessandra Ferri dancing one of her signature roles of Tatiana in Midsummer night’s dream. Her dancing was extraordinary. It was not just light and lovely but filled with meaning and intention. Not just dynamic and commanding, but nuanced to rend the soul of everyone who watched. I still remember one exquisite aching extension of her leg that was incredible–not for it’s height or speed but for how she spoke of yearning with her leg–a universal longing beyond words. When she was done, the entire packed audience of the Met was Silent. And then they leaped to their feet and roared.
If you love to dance, join me on February 14th and we will celebrate the expression of dance and love with Romeo and Juliet. See you there.
Ballet is Tuesdays 7-8pm at 380 Broadway, two blocks south of Canal Street, Buzzer #5, $10
suggested donation. Romeo and Juliet workshop is Feb 14th 12-1:30pm, $10 minimum donation. For a complete schedule of all our classes, visit http://www.liberatedmovement.com