Interview: Scottish Ballet artistic director Christopher Hampson on Romeo & Juliet
Krzysztof Pastor’s version of Shakespearean love story is dramatic, stylish and innovative
This article is from 2014.
Striking a balance between staging new work and bringing back well-loved classics is a challenge for any artistic director. Since Christopher Hampson arrived at Scottish Ballet in 2012, he’s overseen a glut of new creations, including the epic Dance Odysseys at the Edinburgh International Festival, and his own Hansel and Gretel at Christmas.
So, time to dust off an existing piece and give it another airing. And few works in the Scottish Ballet repertoire come close to Krzysztof Pastor’s five-star version of Romeo & Juliet. Dramatic, stylish and with striking choreography, it’s easy to see why Hampton is taking the 2008 work back on tour.
‘It’s a beautiful production, and encapsulates what Scottish Ballet does brilliantly, which is tell stories in really interesting and innovative ways,’ says Hampton. ‘And Krzysztof’s choreography has got a grounding in classicism, which is really important to us, but with a 21st-century freshness to it.’
It’s not just Pastor’s choreography that Hampson praises, but also the staging. With 24 scenes, Shakespeare’s text is a challenge for anyone attempting to deliver the storyline with clarity. ‘Some productions can be quite clunky when moving between scenes, and from outside to inside,’ he says. ‘But Krzysztof hasn’t fallen into some of the traps that exist in Romeo & Juliet – he’s managed to craft the story so it has a really good linear line. He always brings a slightly quirky outlook to a story – and he’s certainly done that with this production.’
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Sat 19–Sat 26 Apr, then touring.