Atlanta Ballet's "Roméo et Juliette." Choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot. Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Atlanta Ballet’s “Roméo et Juliette.” Choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot. Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Last year, the robust characters were John Welker’s Friar Laurence and Rachel Van Buskirk’s Nurse, and their performances have lost nothing and gained much in the interim. I remember being effusive in my review of the 2014 “Roméo et Juliette”, and I thought this year’s performance would be unable to impress me any more than last year’s. I was completely and utterly wrong.

I am no less excited by the technical prowess of the company this year than I was last year. The speed of the movement is astonishing. The contrasts are compelling: There is explosive energy and controlled balance, athletic prowess and intricate gesture. There is Kiara Felder’s ability to fill the stage with her radiant smile while she is diving, sliding, and spinning at the Capulet’s ball. There are Health Gill’s electrifying leaps and infinite pirouettes as he taunts the Capulets in the street. There is Tara Lee’s palpable anguish at the deaths of her family, which fills the theatre and reverberates off the walls. There is Alessa Rogers’ heart-stopping arabesque fouêtté.