'The Crucible' Kicks Off Eighth Show

Friday, January 12, 2007

A fiery production of 'Romeo and Juliet' -- and we do mean fiery. In an industrial arts complex in Oakland where people learn to be blacksmiths and pour hot molten metal -- a ballet is unfolding as 'The Crucible' celebrates its 8th anniversary.

Graceful, elegant, classical ballet, and hip hop, break dancing, swinging from a chandelier while fire flickers above and below you. Flames of artistic creations -- this is "Romeo and Juliet, a fire ballet to Prokofiev's music.

Conceived by the Crucible's founder Michael Sturtz.

ABC7's Don Sanchez: "What is the fascination with fire as an artistic medium?"

Michael Sturtz, The Crucible Founder: "I think fire is a live element. It has a will of its own, which makes it dangerous and also alluring."

The story is about true love in flames, in this case real flames. It combines ballet, martial arts, aerial exhibits and, of course, classical music. They're taking the old techniques taught here, making them exciting, flamboyant.

Michael Sturtz, The Crucible Founder: "All these things that kind of being lost in this world because everyone is on a computer -- we're putting them on stage, making them theatrical, blending them with these arts."

Corrine Blum, who danced with the San Francisco Ballet, is the choreographer.

Corrine Blum, Choreographer: "I love the idea of collaborating, I love the idea of bringing in new things that have never been seen before. So for me it's really inspiring to know that is possible."

Easton Smith is Romeo, a long time dancer with Smuin Ballet.

Easton Smith, "Romeo": "This is a lot of people throwing caution to the wind and taking their art, moving it to a new level and incorporate things they're not exactly comfortable with."

The highlight of the show is the sword fight between Romeo and Tybalt.

ABC7's Don Sanchez: "How was dancing with a gas tank attached to your leg."

Easton Smith, "Romeo": "The sword fighting I've done many times. You light those swords on fire and combine four foot flames and I'm still trying to do my ballet tricks.

Pushing boundaries for visual excitement.

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