Greatest love story of all time

Greatest love story of all time

ONE of the greatest love stories of all time is being performed by Ballet Ireland at the Civic Theatre, from December 7 to  9.

Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet is transported from the streets of Verona into the classrooms of a modern-day high school, and becomes a play within a play.

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With choreographer, Morgann Runacre-Temple and Sergei Prokofiev’s music, the ballet production of the tragic tale will be full of passion and hatred, comedy and high tragedy.

Ballet Ireland’s director and founder, Anne Maher, who started dancing ballet at the age of five, took time out of her busy schedule to speak to The Echo Newspaper about her journey into the ballet industry and the production of Romeo and Juliet.

When did you begin Ballet?

I started ballet when I was five years old. Many other kids my age and in my area were dancing, so I decided to join as well.

You have danced in many productions. Was there one that was your favourite or one you are most proud of?

I am proud of all of my productions for lots of different reasons. Giselle was my first production as a professional dancer, so it has a special place in my heart. Swan Lake was the most challenging. There were so many different movements, both soft and fluid, but also hard and sharp. It was a demanding role, but when it is done well, it is an achievement to be proud of.

How did it feel to receive a scholarship from the late Princess Grace of Monaco, to study at L’Acadamie de Danse Classique in Monte Carlo?

It was wonderful. It was an exciting time, but also kind of terrifying to be given that type of opportunity. It was a little bit of everything.

Why did you decide to begin Ballet Ireland?

There was no ballet company in Ireland when I was growing up, so I never had the chance to dance in Ireland professionally. I did most of my dancing career internationally, particularly in France and Germany. When I moved back to Ireland after retiring, I wanted to give dancers the opportunity to dance professionally in Ireland.

What did you find was the hardest part in founding your own company in the ballet industry?

Like most beginning companies, the funding. Particularly in arts. Arts will never be a commercial entity in Ireland, as it is not valued in the same way.

What do you find is the most rewarding part of founding Ballet Ireland?

The audiences. The feedback we get from them and the relationships we form, such as the one with the Civic Theatre. We’ve been building a relationship with them since they opened. We love being able to present quality performances to the audience.

I know you were Juliet in one of your past productions. How does it feel to be the director of Romeo and Juliet now?

It is marvellous. My time has passed being on stage, but it is great to have the experience of a professional dancer to pass on to the younger dancers and give them feedback. I know what it feels like, because I have been there.

Romeo and Juliet is a renowned play. Is it difficult adapting the play into dance?

 It is a defined structure. Everyone knows the story, everyone knows the plot. And we are working with Sergei Prokofiev, the person who scored the original ballet dance of Romeo and Juliet. So, it is easy.

For more information about Ballet Ireland’s Romeo and Juliet, you can check out or Ballet Ireland’s website,