Thursday night I decided to take myself on a little date to the ballet. So far I have seen quite a few ballets here in Seoul and I wanted to add “Romeo & Juliet” to my list. Thursday night was the opening performance of Korean National Ballet’s “Romeo et Juiette.” If you could tell by the title, this wasn’t the average classical ballet, but rather a French choreographer named Jean-Christophe Maillot’s post-classical modern version of the ballet.
When the curtain rose up on the opening scene I was a little jarred to see that the classical Shakespearean sets and costumes that I expected to see were replaced by a clean, white set design and costumes that could have been easily placed in any era. The classical music was still the same, but the choreography and even the characters were portrayed very abstractly. By the end of the first act I was used to the modern take on the classical ballet and I grew to enjoy it. What was the most interesting part of this ballet is that even though the quintessential elements of Romeo and Juliet such as the balcony set and the weapons and potions used to commit the suicides were missing, the story line could still be understood. The simplicity of the set and the lack of fancy props made the audience focus on the beauty of the dancers and the story that they were telling through their abstract movements.