Promoted to principal dancer in 2012, Amanda Green has danced many coveted roles with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Dancing as Juliet tops off her list of great Royal Winnipeg Ballet roles: “We only have a select few full-length ballets, and this is the last one I haven’t done.”
Green follows in the footsteps of previous well-known RWB principals who have danced this role, such as Evelyn Hart, Tara Birtwhistle, and Vanessa Lawson.
The Romeo to her Juliet is Liang Xing, a guest artist from the National Ballet of China, where he has been a principal dancer since 2011. Although Green has only been dancing with Xing since the start of this season, she said things are going very well.
“I have an amazing partner; it’s been great to work with Liang. We’ve been together only a couple of months, but [have] connected really well.” With many impressive credits and a couple of silver medals from international ballet competitions, Xing will be a worthy Romeo.
Preparing for a role of this magnitude requires many hours of background work as well as lengthy discussions with one’s partner to make sure everything is comfortable.
“There’s an evolution on stage; a development of the character. It won’t be the same each time I perform it.”
Amanda Green, Juliet
Green said that among her research methods are watching YouTube videos of other dancers, and breaking things down step-by-step to figure out how she wants to feel or what she wants to be thinking at a particular moment.
Even after opening night, she is always working on her performance and dancing in front of an audience adds another aspect to the role. “There’s an evolution on stage; a development of the character. It won’t be the same each time I perform it,” she said.
Shakespeare’s classic play is an intense emotional journey for the main characters, and Green said that while this role requires a great deal of endurance, the emotional aspect is the most tiring. “I’ve learned to pace myself a bit better; I’m not as hyper at the beginning,” said Green.
She also described the difficulty of getting into character during the rehearsal process, as the ballet is danced in segments; when rehearsing the death scene, for instance, it’s hard to conjure up the same emotion as when she’s danced the whole ballet.
The choreography is by Rudi van Dantzig of the Dutch National Ballet, who was friends with RWB artistic director André Lewis before he passed away in 2012. “I think he’s a genius,” said Green, “his choreography is extremely organic.”
Along with the grand Prokofiev score, gorgeous sets, and stunning costumes that set the scene for 16th century Verona, Amanda Green and Liang Xing will show audiences why this remains one of the most popular classical ballets.
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