Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” will be presented by Tulsa Ballet on Oct. 23-25 with music performed by The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. The exquisite choreography by John Cranko tells the comedic story of a stubborn woman and her equally stubborn admirer through intricate dance steps.
“The Taming of the Shrew” has been performed in a limited number of theaters across the U.S., including the American Ballet Theater. Cranko’s trust determines which companies are artistically and technically skilled enough to perform the piece. Tulsa Ballet is honored to have the ability to share his work for a second time. The ballet performance is challenging due to the strength and technique needed to perform the roles.
“The solos for both Kate and Petruchio are very difficult and physically demanding,” said Marcello Angelini, artistic director of Tulsa Ballet. “In fact, there are some steps in Petruchio’s solo that a handful of male dancers worldwide have been able to master. You are supposed to look not-so-sober throughout all of them, in fact throughout the entire act one. As for the duets, the lifts are intricate, complex and borderline scary. The duets are pure virtuoso partnering, if you can do ‘taming,’ you can dance pretty much any duet in any work of the past and present.”
Petruchio and Katherina, the leading roles, are considered some of the most fulfilling characters to play because they are humans, unlike many classical ballets whose scenes are mystical and border on the supernatural. The cast of “The Taming of the Shrew” are down-to-earth and flawed characters. The magical love-at-first sight does not exist for Katerina and Petruchio. Katerina slaps Petruchio when she first meets him, and then continues to do so throughout their pas de deux, a partnering step.
“What you are supposed to feel, and therefore express throughout the ballet, will eventually evolve out of the steps,” said Angelini. “And that’s the geniality of the choreography of John Cranko. The actual steps feel like the perfect ‘words’ to express what you are feeling.”
John Percival, a 32-year chief critic for “The Times of London,” is known as being one of the toughest and fairest reviewers of all times, according to Angelini. He wrote a review on “The Taming of the Shrew.”
“He wrote, ‘I have been trying to think when – or whether – I ever laughed so much at a ballet as I did at John Cranko’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’ Perhaps the subject sounds an unlikely one for dancing, but to think so is to leave out of account Cranko’s absolute genius for comic invention,’” said Angelini.
“The Taming of the Shrew” will be performed at the Performing Arts Center at 110 E 2nd St. in Tulsa. Tickets are on sell for Friday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. For more information call (918) 749-6006 or visit www.tulsaballet.org.