A musical feast for families – Romeo and Juliet

A collaboration between English National Ballet, RCM Sparks and the Royal Albert Hall, saw families take part together in a special weekend of workshops at the Royal College of Music (RCM) and Markova House, the home of English National Ballet last weekend.

The Saturday morning session unfolded in the light, bright rehearsal studio at Markova House. A warm-up routine energised the fifty parents and children ready for the fun movement exercises planned by the dance artist from English National Ballet and lead musician from RCM.

Instead of Prokofiev’s famous score being played on the piano, a mini orchestra was formed in the studio, with eight musicians provided by RCM and the Royal Albert Hall Albert’s Band.

The orchestra provided another dimension for us…
It was an education for me as well as my daughter because we could see which instrument was playing which bits.
Parents – Romeo & Juliet family discovery participants

The young participants discussed and described the main characters of Romeo & Juliet as the mini orchestra played their associated ‘theme tune’ or ‘leitmotif’. Juliet’s music was ‘playful’ and ‘delicate’, Romeo’s was ‘lively’ and ‘dreamy’, Tybalt was ‘angry’, Lord and Lady Capulet were ‘posh’ ‘grand’ and ‘bossy’.

Go to set Romeo & Juliet in-the-round (Daria Klimentová and Vadim Muntagirov)

  • Daria Klimentová as Juliet and Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Daria Klimentová as Juliet and Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Daria Klimentová as Juliet and Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Daria Klimentová as Juliet and Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Daria Klimentová as Juliet and Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Daria Klimentová as Juliet and Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

  • Daria Klimentová as Juliet and Vadim Muntagirov as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet in-the-round. Photo: © Photography by ASH

The Capulet Ball was recreated by the whole group dancing in paired columns to the stately Dance of the Knights. As the class copied the assertive, exaggerated moves of the dance their confidence levels soared. Soon they were all striding in step, with chests out, heads back, elbows up, responding to the powerful music, with the trombone’s ‘oompah’.

Focusing again on the main characters, four groups devised a simple dance routine for each character.

I didn’t think our group could come up with anything for Tybalt but actually it was easy and fun!
Parent – Romeo & Juliet family discovery participants

The final exercise, based on the Montague versus Capulet fight scene, proved very popular. As children and adults on each side held their menacing positions, the tableau oozed antagonism, reminding me of the same scene in the ballet.

After attending the matinee performance of Romeo & Juliet in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall that afternoon, the families spent Sunday at the RCM feeding their insights and new experiences into a creative composition work, culminating in a free show of newly created music and dance; a chance to delight their families and friends.

By Claire Cohen