A Familiar Yet Timeless Tale

It’s a tale that feels familiar to everyone: A Shakespearean-like story of star-crossed lovers and inevitable heartache coming to the Aronoff Center Oct. 23 and 24. Lady of the Camellias will take the stage by storm, featuring choreography by Val Caniparoli and the Frédéric Chopin music performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

The ballet is much more familiar than people might realize. It’s based on the 19th century novel La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. But the true familiarity comes from the story crafted: Marguerite, a famous courtesan, falls in love with a young countryman named Armand, despite their affair being forbidden. This story has seen multiple screen adaptations, including Camille, which featured an Ocar-nominated performance by Greta Garbo, and, most recently, Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

Although the story may feel familiar, this is certainly not a show that has been seen before. Caniparoli’s choreography demands perfect technicality from the dancers, and there are many moments when performers are challenged to express deep and intense emotion without showing much movement.

“In the last several minutes of the ballet, there is not even a single dance movement,” says Caniparoli in a news release. “It’s all expression, which I think can be even more powerful than an overhead lift or an exciting jump. You just cannot underestimate the power of expression in dance.”

Though he’s most closely associated with the San Francisco Ballet, Cincinnatians may recognize Caniparoli’s handiwork as choreographer in performances such as Frisch’s Presents The Nutcracker, Caprice, Lambarena, The Bridge and Bow Out. He’s a versatile choreographer who is sought after in both the U.S. and abroad.

Many factors contribute to the success of this performance, and it is sure to be great. While the story of star-crossed lovers has been retold across centuries, it continues to resonate with audiences, and Cincinnati Ballet’s performance of Lady of the Camellias should be no different.


 The Cincinnati Ballet Center is located at 1555 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45214. You can reach them at 513.621.5219 or visit their website at www.cballet.org.