Published: 06/05/2014 18:10 - Updated: 07/05/2014 10:36

Italian Erik finds Romeo close to home

Erik Cavallari and Sophie Martin return as Scottish Ballet's Romeo and Juliet.Picture: David Eustace
Erik Cavallari and Sophie Martin return as Scottish Ballet's Romeo and Juliet. Picture: David Eustace


PLAYING Romeo makes Erik Cavallari the main man in Scottish Ballet’s Romeo And Juliet, revived from 2008.

Italian principal dancer Erik was brought up in Brescia – not too far fromVerona where the play is set.

But though he has done some background research to play Romeo again – re-reading the play and watching Franco Zeffirelli’s classic 1968 film – Erik prefers Romeo to come from inside.

"It just grows with you the more you perform the role. You try to let the feelings of the character grow inside, then see how they feel.

"You have to let those feelings start simmering and boiling."

Both Erik and Sophie Martin were the dancers chosen for the original production and the dance was created by Krzysztof Pastor with their individual characteristics and abilities in mind.

Even after six years, Erik can recall every move – or at least his body can, thanks to ‘muscle memory’ – the body literally remembers the moves.

Erik said: "It’s one of the most extraordinary phenomenon I have experienced. If I did something 10 years ago and the moves are not quite the way they were, my body can tell. My brain goes ‘This doesn’t feel right’. So that takes over at a very deep level.

"Sophie and me have done the ballet so many times before that it was very easy to put it back again on stage."

But the time inbetween has added intensity to their performances, Erik feels.

"We are both different, we have both changed.

"My wife – she watches the shows – and she said it is a lot better than before, the feelings come across as more intense.

"I guess four years have passed and we have both done so many things since the last time. So I hope it is a better show."

The backdrop for the timeless Romeo And Juliet story sees Italy’s 20th century unfold, from the Fascist 1930s through the "la dolce vita" 1950s to the over-the-top showbiz feel brought by president Silvio Berlusconi’s 1990s.

As an Italian, how did it feel for Erik to have his country’s history replayed every night?

"It was a nice feeling.

"I guess the original idea is that this kind of story can happen at any time and in any place.

"During the ballet, the timeline is changing, although for the main characters it’s the same.

"By the end, you see Berlusconi's face talking on one of the small squares.

"He’s not my hero, I’m a bit embarrassed about him – like many Italians.

"But he was chosen here because he does represent the country in those years – especially the bad part – though he didn’t represent exactly what the country is.

Scottish Ballet’s Romeo And Juliet is at Eden Court from Wednesday until Saturday.

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