Britain’s best ballet stars return to the limelight
After a year of performing in empty houses, British Royal Ballet dancers William Bracewell and Fumi Kaneko are eager to “celebrate what we do best” when they return to the public eye as Romeo and Juliet.
“I haven’t done this, a three-act ballet in ages,” Japanese dancer Kaneko told AFP after a rehearsal for the famous balcony scene.
“Being able to dance with a whole troupe of ballet dancers is so special.
“Romeo and Juliet is my dream role, I’m enjoying every minute of rehearsal right now,” she said of Kenneth McMillan’s choreography, ahead of World Ballet Day on October 19.
In an aerial scene, Kaneko is mesmerized by her Romeo, Bracewell, who spins her around and pulls her closer into an embrace, crowned with a kiss.
Bracewell said returning the audience in person after more than a year of continued lockdowns was “what we need to do, come together and celebrate what we do best, which is telling these amazing stories.” .
Kaneko revealed other issues caused by the pandemic, saying that “even when we came back to the studio, we had to wear masks.
“I think we struggled a lot, that breathing with a mask,” even if that meant they “could do whatever we wanted to do”.
Britain began lifting its coronavirus lockdown restrictions in July, as a mass vaccination campaign slashed hospital admissions for severe Covid cases and deaths.
Bracewell said the time has come for all of those who have made the sacrifices “to hopefully begin to return to some sort of normalcy and enjoy the happy parts of life as well.”
He praised the famous troupe, which performs at the Royal Opera House in London, as “amazing” during the pandemic.
“They did all they could in a safe environment and to help us feel that we had a purpose and that we could dance, and still play,” he told AFP.
The dancers were able to perform online, which “was a bit of an emotional outlet,” he added.
The ballet opens on October 5 at the Royal Opera House.
© 2021 AFP