THIS is a Romeo And Juliet ballet so minimalist that props have pretty much taken a hike. Death scenes are poetic, rather than guttural and graphic, daggers and phials of poison making way for broken-bodied, agonised symbolism.

Imported to Leeds at the invitation of Northern Ballet artistic director David Nixon, Jean-Christophe Maillot’s French choreography thrusts angular, jagged physicality to the fore in this thrilling new staging.

Dancers not only clasp and grasp in anger, hate, lust or love, they interact with the equally sparse set design, be it throwing themselves at Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s abstract, curved white scenery or Giuliano Contadini’s Romeo recklessly pinning Javier Torres’s strutting Tybalt against the raked ramp as he throttles him in revenge for the death of Matthew Koon’s Mercutio.

In the intense heat of the moment, this is dancing on the edge of excess, tactile, sometimes desperate, sometimes bawdy, other times suffused with desire, and so sensuous when Contadini’s Romeo and Martha Leebolt’s Juliet entwine for the first time before the curtain falls to let everyone cool down.

Romeo And Juliet is a story where everything happens too fast, where fate and enmity always stay one step ahead, where Maillot’s application of slow-motion cannot halt the inevitable.

He makes several striking choices, flooding the stage with clashing men and women as the venomous Capulet and Montague feud flares up once more; introducing a puppetry scene in the manner of Hamlet’s play within a play; and giving Isaac Lee-Baker’s Friar Lawrence a more central role, caught between good and evil. Lee-Baker’s tortured, serpentine dancing is exhilarating; more like pop star Prince than priest.

Northern Ballet, Romeo And Juliet, Leeds Grand Theatre, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 848 2700 or