What makes a classic a classic? In the case of the ballet Giselle, it is several things, a range of characteristics and qualities that come together to create a work of art that has remained firmly front and centre in the classical ballet canon over the 178 years since its creation in Paris in 1841. And among these unique characteristics, it is the ballet’s title role that has imprinted itself on ballet history in a special way.
Since Italian ballerina Carlotta Grisi danced the part of Giselle at the first performance almost two centuries ago, the role has been one of the supreme yardsticks by which the art of the ballerina has been measured, and still is to this day. Sometimes cited as ballet’s equivalent of Hamlet, it draws on every facet of the ballerina’s art, ranging in the course of its two acts from a love-struck peasant girl, through the famous Mad Scene to an ethereal, ghostly spirit whose love and forgiveness call powerfully from beyond the grave.
The appeal of the role of Giselle has drawn generations of ballerinas to measure themselves against its supreme technical and dramatic challenges, every generation adding its own handful of distinguished names to the honour roll of great Giselles.
As Joburg Ballet gears up for its season of ten performances of Giselle at Joburg Theatre from 4 to 13 October, four dancers prepare to put their own individual imprint on the role: Shannon Glover, Claudia Monja, Monike Cristina and guest artist Anaïs Chalendard. They will be coached by Australian-based SA ballet luminary Dawn Weller.
Performance casting for the roles of Giselle and Albrecht (Subject to change)
Friday 4 October at 19:30: Anaïs Chalendard and Leusson Muniz
Saturday 5 October at 15:00: Shannon Glover and Revil Yon
Saturday 5 October at 19:30: Monike Cristina and Ruan Galdino
Sunday 6 October at 15:00: Anaïs Chalendard and Leusson Muniz
Tuesday 8 October at 11:00: Anaïs Chalendard and Leusson Muniz
Wednesday 9 October at 11:00: Shannon Glover and Revil Yon*
Friday 11 October at 19:30: Claudia Monja and Leusson Muniz
Saturday 12 October at 15:00: Monike Cristina and Ruan Galdino
Saturday 12 October at 19:30: Claudia Monja and Leusson Muniz
Sunday 13 October at 15:00: Shannon Glover and Revil Yon
*All performances are accompanied by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra except Wednesday 9 October which will be performed to a recorded soundtrack to facilitate filming of the performance for commercial DVD release.
At Joburg Theatre Box Office; or tel. 0861 670 670; or online at www.joburgtheatre.com or www.webtickets.co.za
Patrons can also book and pay via the Nedbank app and at selected Pick n Pay stores (full list at www.webtickets.co.za/pnpoutlets.aspx).
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