“Romeo and Juliet” was a favorite in high school lit-class, a real two-hanky play. My first experience of any version of the play on stage was with choreographer John Cranko’s version at the Academy of Music in 1969. I knew Prokofiev’s score, especially “Dance of the Knights,” where the Capulets and Montagues curtsy and circle one another. The sinister music trumpeted that they would soon be killing each other. Around the same time Franco Zefferelli’s dance-heavy film came out. Both Cranko’s dance and Zeferrelli’s film were full of pomp and ceremony, velvets, pearls, crimsons, swords, and sumptuous beyond words. So, I’ve always thought of “Romeo and Juliet” as dance.
“Rome and Jewels” by Rennie Harris. Photograph courtesy Penn Live Arts