Peter Schaufuss is rehearsing his company’s Romeo & Juliet for London. It marks the 40th anniversary of Schaufuss’s first appearance with London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet. More than a decade later, in 1984, he took over as the company’s artistic director. He has been running the Peter Schaufuss Ballet for the last 15 years, which is at the London Coliseum from July 11. This is the Romeo and Juliet created by Frederick Ashton in 1955, though known first as “Romeo og Julie” as it was created in Copenhagen for the Royal Danish Ballet.
Ashton’s original Juliet was Mona Vangsaae, the mother of Peter Schaufuss, and on his death in 1988 Ashton bequeathed the work to Schaufuss. Now the two Russian whirligigs Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev are rehearsing with Schaufuss for their début in the ballet – 9 performances in 7 days! Schaufuss is pleased:
I have never seen anything like it. They are great dancers but they are just like any other two kids learning a new ballet. The couple keep telling me they have always done the big ballets and they now want to be challenged. They both have tremendously gifted techniques, but for them technique means nothing; it’s the feeling that matters. These two are unique. Even when they walk through a rehearsal they are 100 per cent flat-out emotionally. It will be a red-hot performance.”
After 15 years running his own company in Denmark, Schaufuss has made London his home again.
When I think back over four decades, the shows, the scandals, the love stories, the triumphs… Now I have found happiness with my partner Zara and my daughters Mona, 22, Tara, 19, and my son Luke, 17, our cats and my many friends.”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.