Eugene Ballet Company Presents Romeo & Juliet

by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
The Eugene Ballet Company will be performing Shakespeare’s classic tale of two star crossed lovers on November 12 at the Bend High School Auditorium. The full stage production of Romeo Juliet was choreographed by company founder, Toni Pimble to Sergei Prokofiev’s classic score.

With the help of theatrical fight director Bill Hullings, the dancers have been learning the art of sword fighting. “We have some very exciting sword work going on. In the first fight scene everyone is involved, even the girls,” commented Pimble. Using real swords on stage, the fight scenes between the Montagues Capulets create a realistic conflict of familial love honor.

“This is certainly one of my favorite ballets.” said Pimble, “With the challenging dancing, dramatic intensity poignant story, Romeo Juliet has it all.”

The production will take place in three acts, closely follows the story line. Local designer Jerry Williams has created a set that will move with the dancers to seamlessly transition between acts. “Often scene changes in ballets can take awhile as the audience sits in the dark,” Pimble noted.  “But, this set moves with the dancers from scene to scene creating a flow that suits the choreography.”The Eugene Ballet company has the distinction of being the only professional company in the country in a community of Eugene’s size. The dancers come from all over the world country to work full time during their 26 week rehearsal time.

Multiple productions are developed at once with seasonal performances of The Nutcracker as a yearly tradition. The company presents classical ballets with at least one family friendly production one contemporary innovate work in the spring.

Pimble Riley Grannan founded the Eugene Ballet Company after retiring from dance taking over the Eugene School of Ballet in 1978, the opening of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in 1982 gave the ballet a home. “Visionaries saw the Hult Center as a place that performing arts in Eugene could grow flourish…we were in the right place in the right time,” said Pimble.

“We have had to work hard to raise the quality of dancers over the past 30 years…it took us a while to get to the level we wanted, we now have 21 full time dancers in the company. We usually hold an open audition in NY, but these days, dancers send you emails with a you tube link. If we are interested, then we will contact them try to get them out to Eugene to audition.”

The company tours frequently throughout the U.S. internationally to Canada, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia Taiwan. Pimble says the interest for ballet in Oregon is very good. Ticket sales have remained healthy throughout the past few years, the production travels extensively up down the I5 corridor.

While the ballet company has performed in Bend before, Pimble would like to bring more performances to town. “We are really excited to present Romeo Juliet in Bend with the Bend Dance Project Bendbroadb supporting us. We want to be in Bend want to see if the community will support us come out to see us.”

The ballet company will be holding a master class in Bend on November 12 for any dancer with a ballet background. 12–2pm at Academie du Ballet Classique on Greenwood Avenue. The cost is $20. To enroll, contact Bend Dance Project at or 541.410.8451. The class is limited to the first 25 dancers.

Romeo Juliet will be performed in the Bend High School Auditorium on Saturday, November 12 at 7:30pm.  Tickets are available at 541-682-5000, online at or at the door one hour before the show. Adults $20-$30, youth $18-$27, university students $10.

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