What to say about Jean Christophe Maillot’s ballet masterpiece, Roméo and Juliette, that hasn’t been said before—and with countless accolades? Only that it was that much sweeter, poignant, and sharper watching the ballet with a treasured ballerina, Noelani Pantastico, dancing what amounted to her final role with Pacific Northwest Ballet—and, as always, with her signature smooth moves and fierce commitment, as well as her unparalleled grace, musicality, and depth of character.
Maillot’s work gives us two beautifully crafted roles— the impetuous, animated Juliette and the equally impulsive, emotional Roméo (danced by James Moore). Equally impressive is the strong character of Friar Laurence (danced by the lanky, limb-stretching, Miles Pertl), his screams chilling, his angst palpable. Also memorable: Leta Biasucci’s expressive and humorous nurse and Cecelia Iliesiu’s explosive and manipulative Lady Capulet.
The emotive, deep characters that Sergei Prokofiev created in his extraordinary and haunting score most certainly served as inspiration for the choreographer, as Maillot’s characters’ movement is just as rich and unforgettable. It is Roméo’s euphoria, then anguish, and Juliette’s wild passion, then hysteria, that leave us with some of the ballet’s greatest moments.