The Kennedy Center

Royal Swedish Ballet: Ek's Juliet and Romeo:

Royal Swedish Ballet: Ek's Juliet and Romeo

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - Saturday, June 4, 2016


One of the world's oldest ballet companies returns with the North American premiere of Mats Ek's visionary take on Shakespeare's immortal tragedy--a work brimming with modern twists, and winner of the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.

Search for Current Events


Johannes Öhman, Artistic Director


**See principal casting further below.**

Choreography by Mats Ek
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, adapted and arranged by Anders Högstedt
Scenography and costume design by Magdalena Åberg
Lighting design by Linus Fellbom
with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
"Fluid and thrilling… danced with passion and panache"
--The Telegraph
"Vintage Ek in its power to haunt, to unsettle, and to move"
--The Guardian
Royal Swedish Ballet, the world's fourth oldest ballet company, last graced the Kennedy Center stage more than 15 years ago. Returning to Washington following its recent 240th anniversary, the company commissioned Swedish choreographer Mats Ek--acclaimed for his daring interpretations of The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and other classics--to create a contemporary adaptation of a timeless love story. The result: Juliet and Romeo, a visionary take on Shakespeare's immortal tragedy brimming with modern twists, and the 2015 Olivier Award winner for Best New Dance Production.
Danced to a composite score of Tchaikovsky works, rather than the typical Prokofiev music, the production takes on a 21st-century vibe with a stark, urban setting of smoky lighting, shifting mazelike walls, ominous trap doors, motorized Segway scooters, and costumes that mix Renaissance chic with jeans, hoodies, and metallic suits. Told from the perspective of a wide-eyed and defiant Juliet, who falls for sentimental dreamer Romeo, the rest of Ek's reimagined world is strewn with brutal conflict among Juliet's brooding family and Romeo's street-smart comrades.  
Pairing bold characterizations with dynamic movement for 32 dancers, Juliet and Romeo "remints the story with imagery of aching intimacy and disconcerting darkness," raves the Guardian. "The choreography for the two lovers embodies a language of discovery that Ek makes beautifully specific to them." And the Huffington Post calls the ballet "gorgeously fluid… the switched-up name is just the first of many nuances that make a poignant case for this new version of an old classic."
Free Explore the Arts Post-Performance Discussion with Mats Ek
Thursday, June 2

Performance Timing: Act One - 60 min.; Intermission - 25 min.; Act Two - 45 min.

(subject to change)

Wed. Eve, Fri. Eve & Sat Eve:
Juliet Mariko Kida
Romeo Anthony Lomuljo
Father Arsen Mehrabyan
Mother Nadja Sellrup
Prince Andrey Leonovitch
The Nurse Ana Laguna
Paris Oscar Salomonsson
Tybalt Dawid Kupinski
Mercutio Jérôme Marchand
Benvolio Hokuto Kodama
Rosaline Daria Ivanova
Peter Jörgen Stövind
Thu. Eve & Sat. Mat:
Juliet Ema Yuasa
Romeo Anton Valdbauer
Father Andrey Leonovitch
Mother Daria Ivanova
Prince Pascal Jansson
The Nurse Marie Lindqvist
Paris Oscar Salomonsson
Tybalt Dawid Kupinski
Mercutio Clyde Emmanuel Archer
Benvolio Jens Rosén
Rosaline Jeannette Diaz-Barboza
Peter Hampus Gauffin

See Mats Ek's work in exhibition at House of Sweden:
Sweden's Mats Ek's success as a choreographer and director can be seen in the exhibition Mats Ek - A Dance Rebel on the Move for Forty Years. Since his debut in 1976, his works have stirred and captivated audiences and his reworking's of ballet classics such as Giselle, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty have become classics themselves. The special insight and sensitivity with which photographer Lesley Leslie-Spinks has managed to enter Mats' highly personal and precisely delineated world can be seen in this exhibition presented by Embassy of Sweden in collaboration with the Museum of Movement, Stockholm.
Opening hours and more information

Watch and Listen

Royal Swedish Ballet: Ek's Juliet and Romeo