When I watched Soo Youn Cho in a run-through of Edwaard Liang’s “Romeo and Juliet” at Tulsa Ballet last week, I was taken aback to see her in tears. At first I feared she was injured. But it wasn’t that. She was so caught up in the emotion of the ballet that she just could not contain it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dancer weep from pure feeling during a rehearsal (well, Miss Larkin used to come close when dancing with Mr. Jasinski in the studio). It’s a testament both to her commitment to the role and to Liang’s ability to craft a character and a narrative that has emotional resonance.
I asked Soo to share with me some of her thoughts about the role and the ballet. Here’s what she had to say.
First let’s talk about my character, “Juliet.” I think she is a 13-year-old girl. She is not a princess, but she is very pure, and she is part of a rich family.
I have to remind myself of when I was that age. How did I think at that time, how did I play? What made me feel happy or sad, shy, scared? What made me cry?
All those feelings are human. But to be a 13-year-old girl is very hard for me. Not because I have to be a young girl, but because I want to show all my feelings (as Juliet) to the audience.
So I think being in each moment is more important than just dancing parts. Because I have to tell the story.
I think each movement has meanings. Edwaard Liang made a beautiful ballet. I love it! But I have to add my color on the top. (I have to make it Soo’s Juliet story.)
I really enjoy each moment and each moment has different feelings. And when I dance I feel like REAL. REAL!!!
This ballet is very natural. I had all those feelings. But putting in this “everything” to ballet was not as easy as I thought.
I can say this ballet is another challenge piece for me, but I am very excited for the performance this week.
Tulsa Ballet premieres Liang’s “Romeo and Juliet” February 10, 11, and 12 at the PAC.