Italian dancer’s passionate about his Romeo role

Giuliano Contadini and Martha Leebolt in the title roles of Northern Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet

Giuliano Contadini and Martha Leebolt in the title roles of Northern Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet

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Northern Ballet bring their version of Romeo and Juliet to Sheffield next week.

Leading soloist Giuliano Contadini, playing Romeo, answers questions on the show.

Romeo and Juliet premiered in 2015 – what does it feel like returning to Romeo after a year away?

I really enjoyed it the first time and it’s really exciting to come back to it.

Last year it I felt like I was still finding Romeo but this time he’s already there, so now it’s just about building on that to make the role even more my own.

As an Italian, it’s always been a dream of mine to play Romeo. When you discover the world of ballet and all of the old classics, Romeo and Juliet is a very famous and important ballet – especially for us Italians. So this is definitely a dream come true.

This is a very stylish, minimalist production. Does this affect how you tell the story?

Because the set and design is very minimalistic, there’s more room to express the feelings and emotions in the choreography.

I’m a very expressive person and very emotionally driven in my performances and I always try to make sure the audience can really feel it which is what this particular production is all about.

It’s been very easy to adapt because the emotions are very natural and real and there’s lots of space to just dance.

Why do you think that the story has remained so popular for so long?

Happy endings are nice but sometimes you just want to see a tragedy that really pulls on your heart strings so that you leave the theatre feeling really moved. Romeo and Juliet is just so powerful in that sense.

For me as a ballet dancer that’s the most important thing. I want to the audience to feel something but I also need to feel something when I’m performing, otherwise the job’s not worth it.

Could you describe a typical day on tour?

We always start with a ballet class to get ready for rehearsals in the afternoon. Rehearsals can be up to three hours and we could be rehearsing the same ballet we’re performing that day or a completely different ballet – it’s never too easy!

You have to compartmentalise in your brain to be able to switch to a certain character and time period and then in the evening be fully back in Verona as Romeo.

We do so many productions a year that I’m used to it now – especially after being with Northern Ballet for ten years.

n Romeo and Juliet is on next Wednesday to Saturday. Box office: 0114 249 6000 or Sheffield Theatres