The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 21, 2012

Russian ballet troupe bringing timeless love story to arts center

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a powerful, passionate theme that catapults individuals against their world, the times and themselves.

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia will add a new dimension of emotion to this classic when it presents the enduring story in dance at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

Igor Levin, the company’s managing director and symphony conductor, said the troupe’s adaptation of the timeless love story will be unusual in terms of presentation.

“Unusual in the way the historical lives of the characters will be presented and the unique language of the choreography,” Levin said.

That choreography is the brainchild Mikhail Lavrovsky, former principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, and now a leading Russian choreographer for the Bolshoi and other companies.

Lavrovsky’s father, Leonid Lavrovsky, was one of Russia's most remarkable and influential choreographers, and his mother Elena Chikvaidze, was a famous Bolshoi ballerina, Levin said.

“Given the history of this father-son relationship, this production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ is much different from what most people have seen before,” Levin said.

“The costuming is unbelievably rich and shows the Italian influence as Shakespeare intended it.”

The classic tragedy of star-crossed lovers has been adapted to be told through the movements of ballet.

The State Ballet Theatre of Russia is based in Voronezh, a cultural mecca 300 miles south of Moscow.

“We started our current tour Dec. 2, and we will sandwich our performance in Johnstown between appearances in Chicago and New York,” Levin said.

The highest price ticket for the Johnstown show is $35.

The same ticket in the larger cities would cost $80.

“I would call that a good bargain,” Levin said.

If you go ...

What: State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s “Romeo & Juliet."

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1.

Tickets: Available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the box office or by calling 269-7200, (800) 846-2787 or visiting www.upjarts.org.

Cost: $28, $30, $35.

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