Spotlight on: Cody Beaton
February 10th, 2016
Cody Beaton is having one amazing season with the Richmond Ballet. After taking on both the athletic ‘Sanguinic’ variation in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments alongside Trevor Davis, the stunning classical pas de deux in Stoner’s Winslett’s Windows II with Fernando Sabino during the fall repertory show, and dancing as one of the Company’s beloved Sugar Plum Fairies in The Nutcracker, she’s now preparing for a new kind of role: that of Juliet Capulet. She’s set to step into the coveted role in Malcolm Burn’s version of Romeo & Juliet during the production’s four show run at the Carpenter Theatre this weekend, and if anything is for certain, Cody will leave audiences amazed.
Juliet is a challenging role; it demands both youth and maturity, both technical skill and emotional abandon, and it is one that many ballerinas dream of dancing during the course of their careers. For Cody, it is a dream that she’s worked hard to earn. Her incredible endurance and strength lend themselves to a full-length, three-act ballet, and her naturally-youthful personality suits that characterization of Shakespeare’s famous teen very well.
In addition to daily rehearsal, Cody has been searching for inspiration outside of the studio to inform her portrayal of the tragic, young girl. “For me, she’s young and innocent, but she has a rashness about her too. So that’s how I’ve been approaching it. And, of course, I’ve seen other versions of the ballet before, but I didn’t necessarily want to watch those right now because I don’t want to do something that someone else has done,” Cody explained. “But I’ve watched some movies – the one with Leonardo DiCaprio in it! – and I’ve been reading the play. But it’s been a lot of inspiration through thinking, in a way. I’ll go home and I’ll do something, and I’ll think about how I could react if I were Juliet. It’s always in the back of my mind.”
Rehearsals in the third floor studios with Cody and her Romeo, fellow Company dancer Fernando Sabino, quickly become transformative experiences for the onlooker. Her lightness, portrayed so brilliantly in Act I, makes her surrender to an overwhelming love wonderfully powerful, and her crisp technique perfectly bends and breathes with the humanness of both the romance and tragedy of the story. As she and Fernando become consumed with their characters, and indeed fall in love as Juliet and her Romeo, only the sound of the music fills the room. No direction, no side conversations, even hallway chatter stops. Only the sound of awe remains.
“I’ve never done anything like this before, so everything in the ballet is exciting,” Cody added. “Just being able to experience this range of emotions in front of an audience, and convey the emotions in a believable way, is not something I have really had the chance to do before. I am really excited to explore that aspect of my artistry…and also at the same time, I’m very, very nervous,” she adds with a laugh. A laugh, yes, and one wonderfully huge – and confident – smile.
ROMEO & JULIET
Choreography by Malcolm Burn | Music by Sergei Prokofiev | TICKETS
Friday, February 12, 7:00 pm (Tellmann-Henning/Henning)
Saturday, February 13, 2:00 pm (Tellmann-Henning/Henning) and 7:00 pm (Beaton/Sabino)
Sunday, February 14, 2:00 pm (Beaton/Sabino)
Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Arts Center | 600 E. Grace Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219
Photograph by Sarah Ferguson.
Casting is always subject to change.
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