Even though John Cranko is South African, he counts as one of the most significant English choreographers of the 20th century. Furthermore, he is a central figure in German ballet history – after all, he contributed greatly to the fact that Germany returned to the forefront of the ballet world in the 1960s. In particular his version of Romeo and Juliet, created in 1962, directed the eyes of the ballet world back to the "Dance Country Germany" after it had been the catalyst of "Ausdruckstanz" and Modern Dance during the first third of the 20th century.
Cranko's Romeo and Juliet is told in the most clear and concise way, making explanations in the program book almost completely redundant. In his choreographic handwriting, each movement resembles an emotion. It is purely classical, but combines different styles and influences: from the near acrobatic virtuosity of the soviet ballet to the subtle elegance of the English style. This mixture is especially evident in his pas de deux between lovers. Ever since 1968, the ballet has been in the repertory of the Bavarian State Ballet. Every new generation of audiences and dancer alike is enchanted and devastated by the drama of this Piece.