Queensland Ballet’s superlative Australian premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet in 2014 was a triumph of synergy, spearheaded by superstar guests. Five years on, the remounted production is again world class, but this time the result is the sum of the company’s parts – unaugmented by imports in the principal roles and students making up the requisite 40 dancers.

Patricio Revé and Mia Heathcote in Queensland Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet. Photo © David Kelly

In what was then only the second year of his tenure, QB Artistic Director Li Cunxin’s ambition saw him tackle the monumental challenge of MacMillan’s legendary interpretation – which saw Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev take a staggering 43 curtain calls on its opening night in 1965 – with just 24 company dancers. With characteristic resourcefulness, he found a way to pull it off, and in resounding fashion.

In 2019 QB has 43 professional company members, so not only does it have the depth to fill both lead roles without employing the added allure and safety net of international drawcards (it had seven principals in 2014 and has five now), it can also supply the full complement...