Hong Kong Ballet (HKB) presented the U.S. Premiere of Romeo + Juliet on Friday, January 13 at 8pm and Saturday, January 14 at 2pm at New York City Center.
Ancient grudges between triad families. Passion and tragedy. The iconic balcony scene. Set in Hong Kong in the turbulent 1960s, Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers is given a fresh and thought-provoking retelling in Septime Webre’s new Romeo + Juliet. Juliet’s father is an unrelenting Shanghainese tycoon who is determined to marry his only daughter off to a wealthy gweilo (Caucasian), and Webre’s original choreography seamlessly incorporates intense street battles rendered in traditional Hong Kong-style kung fu. Accompanied by Prokofiev’s dramatic score, retro Hong Kong is vividly brought to life in the epic love story’s captivating dancing, complex drama and sumptuous cheongsams. This brilliantly imagined adaptation is especially relevant for contemporary audiences as it fuses dance and drama against a backdrop of a world in flux.
“Transposing the action from medieval Italy to 1960s Hong Kong is an ingenious idea which serves the dual purpose of appealing to the local audience while offering a uniquely Hong Kong product for international tours. Visually the production is stunning.” — South China Morning Post
One of Asia’s premier ballet companies, Hong Kong Ballet (HKB) is internationally recognized as a world-class institution which represents Hong Kong’s unique character. Since its inception in 1979, HKB has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organization with a dynamic repertoire, forward-thinking community engagement initiatives and an emphasis on excellence. Septime Webre joined HKB as its Artistic Director in July 2017.
With nearly 50 dancers from all over the globe—Hong Kong, Mainland China and other parts of Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe and throughout North America—HKB has won recognition both regionally and internationally. HKB’s repertoire includes celebrated restagings of the classics, neo-classical masterworks by George Balanchine, original full-length works created for HKB and an award-winning series of ballets for young audiences. In addition, HKB performs works by some of today’s most sought-after choreographers, including Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne McGregor, Justin Peck, Jiří Kylian, Nacho Duato, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa as well as dynamic new works by HKB’s Choreographer-in-Residence Hu Song Wei Ricky, Yuh Egami, as well as numerous emerging Hong Kong choreographers.
With almost 50 tours to 11 countries, HKB most recently toured Europe, Mainland China and the US, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and in New York at the Joyce Theatre and the renowned Fall for Dance Festival. In addition to its performances on stage at home and abroad, HKB maintains a full schedule of community engagement initiatives throughout Hong Kong to ensure the art of ballet is accessible to all. Since its debut in 2020, the HKBALLET@HOME online channel has garnered over 2 million views, connecting with ballet lovers across the globe.