Lead dancer of the English National Ballet (ENB), Isaac Hernández, shone in his debut last night in the role of a young and in-love Romeo.
The ballet “Romeo and Juliet” commemorates the 40th anniversary of the mise-en-scène of the choreographer and dancer Rudolf Nureyev, where Hernandez plays the passionate, sweet, and dreamy son of Montague.
Hernandez joined the ENB in 2015 as the lead dancer and has gone on international and national tours with the company ever since. In the next few days, he will present in London his version of Romeo, from the William Shakespeare classic.
The demanding play has an agile, light and dynamic Juliet – played by Japanese dancer Erina Takahashi – whose journey we follow from her falling in love all through her tragic death.
The iconic balcony in Verona during the Italian Renaissance, part of the classic play of Shakespeare, was completely removed from the modern choreography.
In its place, we have Juliet's bedroom, where the newlyweds manage to consummate their short-lived marriage.
The Greek tragedy – with humoristic overtones – was masterfully interpreted by Hernandez and Takahashi, as well as by the famous Mercutio – played by Fernando Bufalá – whose bragging stole the show until he was killed by Tybalt.
The play is a blend of ballet and theater, with music from famous composer Sergei Prokofiev, splendidly performed by the ENB Philarmonic.
Each step Hernandez gave was a display of energy, technique, agility, and charisma, characteristics which have made him one of the most renowned and coveted dancers in the world.
The dancer, native of Guadalajara, lands with grace and ease after each pirouette, which is executed effortlessly – at least to the eyes of the spectator.
Hernandez's youthful appearance helps him play the role of young Romeo, who – after his unsuccessful courting of young Rosaline – falls in love at first sight with Juliet, from the rival house of Capulet.
The dexterity of the 27-year-old dancer is put to the test in two hours and a half of demanding performance, requiring a “controlled technique”, in words of Hernandez himself.
The Mexican dancer triumphs on the stage and in his role as Romeo just as he did in the role of Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, or in the play of Don Quixote, thanks to years of experience in the best theaters of the world.
At the Royal Festival Hall, on the shores of River Thames, the audience was entranced by the accurate custome that distinguishes House Montague, in green hues, from their rivals, House Capulet, in scarlet red.
The sumptuous choreography – which at times felt like too much due to the reduced dimensions of the stage – brings back to life the play that in 1977 was commissioned to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The climax of the ballet comes when Romeo dances with the motionless body of Juliet after finding her dead at the Capulet crypt, moments before the tragic ending.
Isaac Hernandez offered to the spectators his own version of Romeo, which will be interspersed with Cuban Yonah Acosta and Frenchman Josua Hoffalt, in a play which concludes next August 5.
The dancer will return to Mexico next week, where he will present on August 12 at the National Auditorium.