Same-sex versions of Romeo & Juliet setting new bar on ballet’s mainstage

Does the upcoming ballet season of Romeo & Juliet at Sydney Opera House challenge convention or is it simply a reflection of love today?
Romeo & Juliet. Two male dancers, onstage against a red backdrop. One is leaning back with their arms open wide, while the other supporting them.

It’s one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays and is considered one of Western literature’s greatest love stories.

It’s so famous that it’s likely playing right now on a stage somewhere in the world, in a version that echoes its original look and feel, and stays true to how it would have been seen in the Bard’s lifetime, more than 400 years ago.

But in hands of French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, this “classic” love story has finally been shaped into a ballet work that is arguably a much truer reflection of what love means to modern audiences today.

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ArtsHub's Arts Feature Writer Jo Pickup is based in Perth. An arts writer and manager, she has worked as a journalist and broadcaster for media such as the ABC, RTRFM and The West Australian newspaper, contributing media content and commentary on art, culture and design. She has also worked for arts organisations such as Fremantle Arts Centre, STRUT dance, and the Aboriginal Arts Centre Hub of WA, as well as being a sessional arts lecturer at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).