Trajal Harrell
Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble The Romeo


It does not really matter what the origins of Romeo are. Imagine a dance which sees people of all origin, sex, generation and temperament dancing as they face up to their innermost tragedies. This time around, Trajal Harrell brings The Romeo to Paris. And it is perhaps here that the story truly begins.

In The Romeo, a large-scale piece for a dozen performers, Trajal Harrell forges a speculative style of dancing. Named after a Shakespearian hero, and the origins of which nobody knows, nor who danced it first, the dance has been passed on from generation to generation and then brought up to date by their memory of it. It is a dance which lends its characteristics to a multitude of protagonists. As court dance, voguing pose, or pastoral dance, it would seem that the The Romeo has already lived a thousand lives. Amidst an entirely transparent pergola decor, Trajal Harrell evokes a fantasy world of bodies striding up and down the catwalk, a mechanism which he stretches at will. The celebration we are witness to has something unsettling about it, making it all the more beautiful: each of the artists presents themselves before going backstage to take on a new role. According to Harrell, movement, whether it be draped, enveloped, hidden, or revealed, is like cloth of the most voluptuous kind, a brazen wink of the eye, a last dance. The Romeo revels in mixing up time in order to conjugate with the present.