About the Show

Thursday June 7th at 8 pm on CBC

Five Romeos. Five Juliets. Who will take the stage on opening night?

From grueling rehearsals to the world premiere, Romeos & Juliets offers an unprecedented behind-the-curtain look at the National Ballet of Canada as ten dancers vie to perform the lead roles on the coveted opening night of "Romeo and Juliet," as envisioned by acclaimed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky in celebration of the company's 60th anniversary.

In the summer of 2011, the National Ballet of Canada, one of the country's most renowned ballet companies, begins work on a new production of Shakespeare's most heartbreaking tale of love and loss, "Romeo and Juliet." Choreographing the great work is Alexei Ratmansky, an inspired artist named "ballet's most sought-after man" by The New Yorker. The stakes are high for the National Ballet as the production represents their first original full-length piece in nearly a decade - and a bid to re-join the front ranks of the ballet world.

Romeos & Juliets is an exclusive behind-the-curtain look at the high-pressure process by which this remarkable new ballet winds its way from rehearsals to opening night. At the centre of the documentary are five couples - Elena and Guillaume, Heather and McGee, Greta and Aleksandar, Sonia and Naoya, and Chelsy and Brendan - with varying degrees of dance experience, each vying to be selected for the main roles on the coveted opening night. Moreover, the complicated choreography performed by the couple selected for opening night could make or break the ballet itself as the tight schedule leaves no room for mistakes.

Expectations are high, and even choreographer Ratmansky begins to feel the heat as concerns begin to mount about whether the work can be finished on time. In the end, as opening night arrives and the curtain rises, the dancers must push through their exhaustion and personal frustrations in order to realize the potential of their roles on the world stage.

About the National Ballet

Established as a classical company by founder Celia Franca in 1951, it is the only Canadian ballet company to present a full range of traditional full-length classics. The company's repertoire includes works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Jirí Kylián, John Neumeier, Rudolf Nureyev, Glen Tetley, Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne McGregor and Alexei Ratmansky. In addition to its classical repertoire, the company also embraces contemporary works and encourages the creation of new ballets and the development of Canadian choreographers.

Canada's premier dance company has performed for over 10 million people. The National Ballet performs annual Fall, Winter and Summer seasons plus The Nutcracker. The company has toured in Canada and the United States, and throughout the world including performances in Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy and Mexico.

Visit the National Ballet at: http://national.ballet.ca/