|Olga Malinovskaya plays Juliet in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet.|
The role is a coveted one. Once a dancer has earned the right to perform the physically challenging and emotionally exhausting role of the lovely Juliet, it's not unusual to have "the jitters."
Dancing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) is also coveted, and the Juliet in this season's production of Romeo and Juliet will be shared by two dancers, Olga Malinovskaya, and rising star Amanda Green, who was awarded the honour of principal dancer last year.
The Kelowna show set for Tuesday will feature Malinovskaya in the lead role, one she has aspired to throughout her dance career.
"I have been dancing my whole life, and this role has been a life-long dream," she said. "It's not only ballet, but has much theatre and drama. This is a challenge, and there have been many other Juliets, so to make it different, and to make it mine, is physically hard and also emotionally exhausting."
The enduring tale of love, longing and loss is an exquisite classical ballet choreographed by Rudi van Dantzig, who, in his lifetime, was often lauded as "an artist of the greatest calibre, as well as a writer and dancer," said Andre Lewis, RWB artistic director.
"He left a great legacy of works, including this stunning Romeo and Juliet. He created it for the Dutch National Ballet, and his vision was poetic, exciting and deeply romantic."
The RWB production will transport the audience to 16th century Verona, replete with opulent costumes and set pieces reminiscent of urbane Renaissance Italy. This RWB timeless narrative stays faithful to Shakespeare's version of the feuding clash between the Capulets and Montagues, the meeting of the young lovers and their tragic end.
"To create this feeling, you must get in touch with your own deeper feelings of love," Malinovskaya explained, who began her career in Russia and was recently contracted by the RWB.
"I know that feeling, the feeling you can't breathe without your lover. I hope I can bring that to the stage in this role," she added. "It perhaps is not as hard as dancing Swan Lake, but it is still very demanding, with many extra movements, and the role develops like a spiral, yet delicate and dramatic."
The production has become one of the crown jewels in the RWB repertoire and an audience favourite in the dance company's hometown, although the touring show has proved popular across the country.
The RWB was founded in 1939, and holds the double distinction of being Canada's premiere ballet company and the longest continuously operating ballet company across North America.
Those who are chosen to dance with the company come into a training ground where the catchwords are versatility, technical excellence and captivating style of dance; all qualities that garner both critical and audience acclaim.
The company has presented more than 150 performances around the world, including Japan, Asia, Russia and Europe.
Lewis, who has led the company for 15 years, has forged a troupe of professional dancers who create an atmosphere that is "resplendent, assured and ravishing."
The success of the company has touched ballet lovers in Kelowna and surrounding district, evidenced by the sold-out, one night only performance of Romeo and Juliet.
What: Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents Romeo and Juliet
When: Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kelowna Community Theatre
Tickets: Sold out