Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet: A Tragic Love Story in Ballet Form

Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet: A Tragic Love Story in Ballet Form

The Plot

Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet is a ballet that tells the story of two young lovers from feuding families, and their tragic ending. The play takes place in Verona, Italy, during the Renaissance era.

Romeo, the son of the Montagues, one of the two feuding families, falls in love with Juliet, the daughter of the Capulets, the other feuding family. Despite the hostility between their families, the couple vows to be together and secretly get married with the help of Friar Laurence.

However, their happiness is short-lived as Romeo kills Juliet's cousin Tybalt in a fight and is banished from Verona. Juliet, who is told to marry Paris by her parents, decides to fake her own death with the help of Friar Laurence so that she could be reunited with Romeo.

Unfortunately, Romeo, who was not informed of the plan, thinks that Juliet is actually dead and kills himself. Juliet, seeing Romeo dead, also takes her own life, which leads to the end of the feud between their two families.

The Music

Sergei Prokofiev composed the score for Romeo and Juliet in the 1930s, creating a powerful and emotional musical backdrop for the ballet. The music reflects the themes of love, despair, and tragedy that are present in the story.

The score is divided into four acts, each capturing a different part of the story's plot. Act I introduces the two feuding families and the young couple's first meeting, while Act II showcases their secret marriage and the beginning of the tragic events. Act III is the climax of the play, with Romeo killing Tybalt and being banished from Verona, and Juliet being forced to marry Paris. Act IV is the final act, depicting the tragic ending of the young lovers.

Prokofiev's music is quite diverse, featuring contrasting themes and moods that complement the events on stage. The score is dominated by strings, brass, and percussion, creating a sense of drama and tension throughout the ballet.

The Choreography

The ballet choreography was created by British dancer and choreographer Kenneth MacMillan in 1965, and quickly became one of the most popular productions of Romeo and Juliet.

MacMillan's choreography follows the traditional moves of classical ballet, but also incorporates aspects of modern dance, giving the ballet a contemporary edge. The movements are fluid and graceful, emphasizing the feelings and emotions of the characters.

The choreography captured the essence of the storyline, showcasing the lovers' passionate love, their strife, and ultimate tragedy. The pas de deux between Romeo and Juliet were particularly moving, reflecting the depth of their love.

The Legacy

Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet is one of the most beloved ballets of all time, with numerous productions staged all over the world, making it a staple in any ballet company's repertoire.

The ballet has inspired countless adaptations in different art forms, including film, opera, and theater. Its powerful story of love and tragedy continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, making it a timeless classic.


Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful and tragic love story that has been told and retold in different forms throughout the years. The ballet adaptation of the story, with its stunning music and choreography, brings to life the powerful emotions of the tale, making it a must-see for ballet aficionados and lovers of tragic romance alike.