The Eternal Lovers (Les Amants Eternels) was choreographed by Paul Grinwis in 1951. Set to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, this was Grinwis' first ballet and was created while he was a principal dancer in the Borovansky Ballet. Grinwis conceived his one-act work as a continuation of the story of two lovers, when they awake in an after-life - 'we shall call them Romeo and Juliet', he wrote, 'because we always think of theirs as one of the greatest of all loves'. Its focal point was a struggle for the Lovers' souls between the spirits of Love and Death, Love, not unexpectedly, being finally victorious. The composer's musical depiction of the conflict between the two families now supported the fight between Love and Death and their followers. William Constable's surrealistic decor of an endless plain merging into a sky of flared clouds diminishing to a central point was an excellent foil for the cast's Renaissance costumes - Juliet in simple white embroidered with silver, Romeo in cream and blue jerkin and blue tights, Death in purple and silver with a dark cloak and helmet, his servants in black, with black gauntlets, Love in cerise and her retinue in blue, with elbow-length cream gloves. Grinwis devised a number of unusual lifts in this work, at the beginning, for example, to give a feeling of weightlessness as the Lovers awake in the spirit world, and two arched rostrums midway on either side were significant for the action. To effect the final reunion of the Lovers, Juliet, outstretched as though in flight, was taken from stage to rostrum level by a series of lifts by Death's minions.
The Eternal Lovers has been described as the most artistically successful ballet created for the Borovansky company. At the premiere, on 1 December 1951 at His Majesty's Theatre Melbourne, Paul Grinwis and Kathleen Gorham danced as the Lovers with Bruce Morrow as the Spirit of Death and Helene Ffrance as the Spirit of Love. The only original work produced in 1951 to be included in subsequent seasons, it was revised in 1954, and had its last performance with the Borovansky company in 1960 when Garth Welch and Iovanka Biegovic danced as the Lovers. It was subsequently staged by Grinwis outside Australia.
This entry is based on an article written by Alan Brissenden in 2006.
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