Preview: ‘Hamlet’ at Sacramento Ballet


Fri 7:30pm, Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm; Through 2/17;

Sacramento Community Center Theater,
1301 L Street;

As if Hamlet wasn’t dramatic enough, between the ghosts, the betrayals and a few heavy doses of Bard-prescribed murder, The Sacramento Ballet is kicking up the drama a few dozen notches by performing a version of the work that’s been translated into a universal language—no, not Esperanto—dance. It’s all part of Amy Seiwert’s docket of performances for her first year as Sac Ballet’s artistic director.

Taking out all of Shakespeare’s verbose lines—including the most famous soliloquy of all time—and letting human legs, arms and hips do the talking, it’s a guaranteed mix-up from your high school’s “avant-garde” production of the play with ludicrous accents. As Prince Hamlet discovers that his father has been murdered and summarily replaced by his own brother in the throne room and the bedroom, it’s up to the justifiably upset heir to the crown to grapple with emotions and plot a course for vengeance.

The ballet was originally performed at Ballet Austin in 2000 and was choreographed by Stephen Mills and composed by Philip Glass. Mills came to Sacramento to work with dancers and oversee choreography. The combined composer-choreographer team pack a powerful punch, and the Glass score sets the brooding and emotional tone for the Shakespearean classic.