Rising star lands leading role

Langley's Sophia Lee is seen here in the Nutcracker. Lee will play Juliet in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Romeo and Juliet coming to Vancouver.
— image credit: David Cooper RWB

A young Langley ballerina will soon dance her way across the Vancouver stage in the role of a lifetime.

Sophia Lee, a rising star with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet — who lived and trained in Langley (at the Cameron Academy of Classical Dance) — will dance the role of Juliet, as the famed Canadian dance company brings an enduring tale of love, longing and loss to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, with choreographer Rudi van Dantzig’s exquisite classical ballet Romeo and Juliet, running from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

The grand romantic work sets Shakespeare’s beloved star-crossed romance to a gorgeous Prokofiev score and highlights the impeccable classical artistry of the RWB dancers.

Recognized alongside Giselle, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty as one of great classical ballets, Romeo + Juliet’s world-premiere was presented by the Kirov Ballet in 1938.

Its timeless narrative stays faithful to Shakespeare’s version, beginning with a feuding clash between the Capulets and Montagues, progressing to the young lovers meeting at a grand ball, and the sealing of their fate in the unforgettable balcony scene. Their love becomes their undoing, as events and fate conspire toward a tragic, yet breathtakingly romantic end.

Dantzig’s production will transport audiences to 16th century Verona with its opulent costumes and beautifully crafted set pieces, reminiscent of urbane Renaissance Italy.

The visually spectacular production has become one of the crown jewels of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s repertoire and an audience favourite in the company’s hometown.

In particular, the opportunity to dance the role of Juliet has become a rite of passage for female members of the company, having been previously performed by such luminaries as Evelyn Hart, Tara Birtwhistle, and Vanessa Lawson.

In Vancouver, the role will be danced by rising star and first cast Amanda Green, who was made Principal last year. Her Romeo will be performed by Liang Xing, guest artist from the National Ballet of China.

However at the 2 p.m. performance on Feb. 1 the coveted role will be taken over by Lee, who quickly made the ascent from corps member to soloist this season and has been compared to a young Karen Kain.

She will dance alongside her Romeo, Artjom Makasakov, who hails from Ukraine, studied ballet in Estonia and has previously danced with the Het National Ballet and Boston Ballet before joining the RWB this season.




Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents ROMEO + JULIET

Date: Jan. 30, 31 & Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 1 at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices: $29 to $89 (plus service fees)

Address: The Queen Elizabeth Theatre

600 Block Hamilton St.

Vancouver, BC V6B 2P1

Box Office: Online at


By Phone at 1-855-985-ARTS (2787)

Website: www.rwb.org



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