Romeo proposes to Juliet, after stunning ballet duet on stage at Verona Arena

3 July 2023, 17:42 | Updated: 5 February 2024, 16:46

Romeo proposes to Juliet, after stunning ballet duet on-stage at Verona Arena
Romeo proposes to Juliet, after stunning ballet duet on-stage at Verona Arena. Picture: Timofej Andrijashenko / Nicoletta Manni

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A real life-Romeo proposed to his Juliet, on stage during a ballet celebration at the Arena di Verona.

On a balmy night in July, a Romeo and Juliet ‘Pas de deux’ ended in a proposal, for these two ballet dancers in Verona.

Timofej Andrijashenko and Nicoletta Manni had been together for seven years, and both dance at La Scala in Milan as primo ballerino and prima ballerina.

The pair had just performed the duet scene from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet on the stage of the Arena di Verona, the Italian city’s famously atmospheric open-air theatre, and were enjoying the audience’s applause.

As the ovation began to quieten, much to the delight of the audience, Timofej then ever so gracefully made the descent onto one knee. Shakespearean romance then became reality, as he popped the question to a stunned Nicoletta, whose reaction was all elation and adoration.

Speaking afterwards to Italian news agency ANSA, Nicoletta confessed she was “the only one who did not know” about the proposal.

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Timofej Andrijashenko Marriage Proposal to Nicoletta Manni - Arena Di Verona

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Posted by Online Ballet Portal on Thursday, July 21, 2022

The show, aptly named ‘Roberto Bolle and Friends’, was put on by the Italian dancer Robert Bolle in the summer of 2022.

Bolle, who is principal dancer étoile at La Scala Theatre Ballet, happens to be a friend of Timofej’s. After Timofej confided in his friend about his plans, Bolle suggested the romantic setting, and asked the couple to dance the Romeo and Juliet dance.

From that point on, all behind the scenes of the show were involved in the elaborate staging.

Nicoletta’s brother, a lighting designer for the production, had hidden the ring on stage, for Timofej to pick up at the end of their duet.

At that moment, “time had slowed down,” Timofej told ANSA. “It seemed to me that it would never end, until I saw Nicoletta’s eyes looking at me.”

Timofej had also organised for Nicoletta’s parents to be in the audience that night, along with other close friends of theirs.

“I did not know that my boyfriend had organised everything perfectly, without telling me,” Nicoletta said. “He had invited my parents… my brother is a light-designer and is working at the Arena.

“All our dearest ones were there, without my knowledge.”

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She said yes...
She said yes... Picture: Timofej Andrijashenko / Nicoletta Manni

Timofej waited until after the final applause, and waited until the other dancers had moved into their places.

“Let’s say that I haven’t recovered yet, I was already very happy to be able to play Juliet in Verona, her city, to dance the duo with Tima, the man I love, my Romeo,” she told the news agency.

It was the perfect setting – Verona, famous for its connection to the Shakespearean couple, and the city to which people from all over the world flock to indulge in the fantasy.

Nicoletta added that much like Romeo and Juliet, “Our love will be immortal”, before adding, “… but less tragic!”