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Natália Horečná’s take on an ancient story

Natalia Horecna“Francinka, Milushka, Serioshka, Anyushka…” We are at a rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet in the ballet hall at the Opera House, and Slovakian-born choreographer Natália Horečná addresses the dancers affectionately by the diminutive forms of their first names – very typical for this charming individual, who has worked as a choreographer for nine years to earn a place among hottest names in European dance theatre. Her works are expressive and imaginative and always have a strong underlying message. In Romeo and Juliet, her purpose is to show what incomprehension, hatred and a lack of love can do to humanity.

Horečná enjoys working in Finland. “I admire the colour of the sky and the pure green of the leaves. But I have also seen Finland in winter and was impressed by the beauty of it. And your dancers are like beautiful trees,” says Horečná with a dazzlingly disarming smile. Her entire being radiates sincerity and sheer good nature. When she says she believes that every person can make a difference, it sounds credible. Undoubtedly her familiarity with Oriental religions and the growing self-awareness that this has provided have deepened her capacity for spreading the tidings of harmony and strengthened her faith in our ability as the human race to change the world into a better place to live.

And has she found the fates of the characters in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet echoed in our own time? “Unfortunately, yes,” says Horečná. “When we give their ego free rein, things can get really bad,” she continues. “A change for the better is only possible when we learn to love ourselves and thereby others. And I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way; I mean a healthy, profound love.”

Text HEIDI ALMI
Photos WILLEM VAN DEN HEUVEL, SAKARI VIIKA

Read the whole article on the programme booklet of Romeo and Juliet.