Considering the big risk the Joffrey Ballet took less than three years ago when it first ventured John Cranko's full-length "Romeo and Juliet," it's amazing how comfortable the company now looks in the ballet--how successfully the dancers manage the unorthodox caractere -flavored dance style, the vigorous but scarcely veristic narrative pantomime, the florid ensemble acting.
Some things may never be fully satisfying in the production--the lack of mature performers in the crucial character roles, for instance. But it's certain that as a company-building, reputation-enhancing vehicle, this Joffrey gamble has paid off handsomely.
The performance by familiar principals, Tuesday in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, revealed that a leveling-off process has taken place in the last year. Some of the former peaks of this "Romeo and Juliet" are now lower--notably Glenn Edgerton's Romeo, currently a bit mannered, and lacking his former degree of concentration.
However, some of the valleys have definitely risen: Dawn Caccamo's characterization of Juliet has gained a surety and detail previously missing, and the way her bourrees run away with her (in the ballroom and balcony encounters with Romeo) is utterly adorable.