Preview: Romeo And Juliet, Coliseum, London
British export gets rushed off his feet
Tuesday 25 March 2008
Life is jam-packed for the British ballet dancer Douglas Lee, 31. He is dancing the role of the Count of Paris in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet with the Stuttgart Ballet in London. This is part of the Spring Dance at the London Coliseum season, and the Stuttgart Ballet's first visit to the UK for 27 years. The company are even bringing along the ballerina Marcia Haydée, who created the role of Juliet in the premiere of Cranko's 1962 version, to dance the role of Lady Capulet.
"I have a pas de deux with Juliet – but it is more of an acting part, really. She is supposed to marry him and she falls in love with Romeo," Lee says. "I'm glad I'm not dancing Romeo, because it is quite athletic. To really enjoy it, you have to be entirely focused on the role. This doesn't leave much room to concentrate on other things."
His own new abstract ballet, Leviathan, for the Stuttgart Ballet, recently premiered as part of a triple bill, and he has been dancing in the full-length ballet Lulu for the company.
Douglas won a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School at 16 years old and, after graduating in 1996, he joined the corps de ballet of the Stuttgart Ballet at 19. "A lot of people were loath to leave London, but it wasn't such a big deal. If you are doing well in a company, it becomes your home."
He quickly rose through the ranks: he was promoted in 2000 to demi-soloist and then elevated to principal dancer in 2002. Now the eight male principal dancers in the company dance the main roles in rotation. So is the Stuttgart Ballet company one big happy family? "The workload is so intense that there is not much room for rivalry. It is such an international company that it does bring us closer together."
This Romeo, set to the Prokofiev score, was first choreographed by Cranko in 1958 for La Scala Ballet in Milan, Italy, before he fine-tuned it for his own Stuttgart company in 1962. "You don't have to add a lot when developing the characters," says Lee, "as it is all there in the Cranko choreography."
Today to 30 March (0871 911 0200)
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview is finally released after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Christmas TV guide 2014: The best shows to watch from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food