Here is an article that I quote verbatim from "The Advertiser" 07/06/01.
Zora's the ballet belle who created Juliet By Arts Writer TIM LLOYD
THE woman who first danced the part of Juliet in the landmark Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet ballet has been rediscovered in Adelaide.
In 1938, Zora Semberova created Juliet, one of the greatest 20th century ballet roles. The charming, deeply-accented Czech woman, still beautiful at 88, welcomes you into her home in suburban Clapham - and out come documents and photographs.
The world she creates is the regional capital of Brno in the then Czechoslovakia in 1938. There, she joined choreographer Ivo Vano Posta to create the first ballet to the modern Romeo and Juliet score of great Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.
Posta's was the first interpretation of what has become one of the most performed ballet scores of the 20th century. "At first, the ballet was supposed to be staged at the Kirov in Leningrad but, at the time, Russia was a little under the influence of politick. They said they were not used to such modern music," Semberova said.
Posta and Prokofiev had worked together at Colonel de Basil's Ballets Russes in Monaco and Prokofiev agreed to the production in Brno. "When Posta said to me 'you will dance Juliet' I was in seventh heaven but I said 'please don't make me dance on the pointe," Semberova said. "I felt that this music is dramatic and I didn't want to do this only in classical movement forms that sometimes don't tell anything."
She won her way, and Posta allowed her to create her own solos. "It was received extremely warmly. It was very popular," she says. "Then, after 2 1/2 months, it was prohibited."
When Romeo and Juliet opened in December, 1938, Europe was in the grip of political conflict that had seen Germany invade the Czech Sudetenland and World War II poised to began. "Prokofiev was supposed to come to the opening but it was a very dangerous time already between Germany and Russia, " Semberova said. Her career in dance started as an eight-year-old at the Brno Opera House. She escaped Czechoslovakia with her daughter in 1968, after taking up an invitation to work at Flinders University's Drama Centre.
Semberova's important historical links with Prokofiev's Juliet was rediscovered in research into the forthcoming tour of the arena production of Romeo and Juliet with the English National Ballet. The tour ends at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on July 28.
Note by Trog: The ENB are in Adelaide for only one day, and at $99 a ticket, I can't afford to go.