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Radio and Juliet by Ballet Maribor

by Wendy Goldberg
July 4, 2009
Jacob's Pillow
358 George Carter Road
Beckett, MA 01223
413 243 0745
Ballet Maribor
Slovenska 27, SI 2000
Maribor, Slovenia

Edward Clug Ballet Head
386 (0) 2 250 6127
Radio and Juliet opens with a flickering black and white film, zooming in slowly to a heavy carved wooden door, Eastern European in style, moving through a long alleyway and courtyard, to an apartment with a beautiful Juliet, at once fragile yet eternal. Her large dark eyes search out her dead lover Romeo, and carry the weight and luminescence of heavenly orbs.

Live dancers enter the stage, small and discreet compared to the hazy, wavy, languishing Juliet of the screen. Then the Radiohead music begins to swell and the dancers and audience alike are lifted by their tsunami of sound, and like white water rafting in a torrential stream, you plunge forward, hoping not to crash on sharp rocky shards.

There is one Juliet, whose thrilling beauty fires up six men who move with grace and intensity towards her, inspired to impress and woo her. Dressed in shirtless black suits, with purple satin lining, the male dancers entice Juliet with the sharp, subtle moves of black swans courting their mate.

Each male dancer does the same routine, arm flung high, torso whipping around, body caressing the floor. Though the movements are repetitious, they delight. Each dancer puts his own unique style into it so we in the audience look forward to the next interpretation.

At times, the six male dancers seem to be different aspects of Romeo, and fill in for each other, taking turns with the charismatic Juliet. Her dancing is exquisite, strong and supple, with a hint of fragility. At one point the men engage in combat, and smoke drifts in from stage right. Then one Romeo puts on a white mask…the others follow suit. A stifling atmosphere of Eastern European warfare and suffering haunts the stage, and one fallen dancer is carried off, funereally.

Juliet marches towards a priest figure, as different Romeos accompany her; til the final chosen one is there to embrace. As we know, there is no wedding party or consummation of this total, youthful, pure love. Just at this moment, the music goes dead, the sound becomes static, Juliet is handed a cup of poison and tears herself away from her Romeo.

The static conjures up all the miscommunication, conflict, blackouts, and existential loneliness that consumed 20th century society. Juliet is finally left with her Romeo, and the two shall forever be remembered together, in this moment of tragic anguish.

There is no comic relief in Edward Clug's inventive, and exciting choreography. He rides the waves of Radiohead's music with daring skill and a natural quality of being true to one's feelings, in the moment. His dancers use their excellent technique in portraying the raw emotions of the story, at a lightening speed.

We welcome Edward Clug, and his troupe from Slovenia, to Jacob's Pillow and look forward to more of his work gaining an audience in the United States.

As we left, the black feathery tips of the ancient pines brushed the pearly opal face of the moon, and we zigzagged down Jacob's ladder, having seen the dream, at Jacob's Pillow.


*Jacob's Pillow, a national landmark, is the first and longest running dance festival in the United States. It's name is a dual reference: first to a large pillow shaped boulder at the end of the zigzagging road locally christened Jacob's ladder; second to the Book of Genesis and the story of Jacob, who lays his head upon a rock, and dreams of a ladder leading to heaven.
Ballet Maribor in 'Radio and Juliet'

Ballet Maribor in "Radio and Juliet"

Photo © & courtesy of Karli Cadel


Ballet Maribor in 'Radio and Juliet'

Ballet Maribor in "Radio and Juliet"

Photo © & courtesy of Karli Cadel


Ballet Maribor in 'Radio and Juliet'

Ballet Maribor in "Radio and Juliet"

Photo © & courtesy of Karli Cadel

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