Great Russian Ballet brings Giselle to the Grand Theatre

Photo courtesy of the Great Russian Ballet.

One of the most beloved ballet classics of all time is coming to a Kingston stage this week, and is not to be missed by ballet or dance fans alike.

A dynamic love story and one of the most popular ballet productions of all time, Giselle takes audiences on a two-act journey, telling the story of the romantic forests haunted by Wilis – young maidens who love to dance and have passed away far too young from broken hearts after being deceived by their lovers. The Wilis make it their mission to dance any man they encounter to his death. However, after she is seduced by Prince Albrecht, and his betrayal is eventually discovered, Giselle might appear as a Wili… but she then defies her destiny in order to protect Albrecht from the Wilis.

The role of Giselle is one of the most coveted characters for any ballerina to play, as it is demanding of technical perfection and grace, but also of dramatic skill. During this, the Great Russian Ballet’s production, the role of Giselle will be performed by the renowned Petra Conti, one of the most accomplished ballerinas of her time.

“I did dream to dance Giselle since the beginning of my career. I always loved the artistic and technical challenges of this role, and was inspired by the individuality of many great ballerinas that danced this role before me,” Conti said of taking on the highly sought-after role.

“Giselle requires artistic sensibility more than anything else, and of course a control and lightness that are absolutely adamant in this ballet.I love the love-story between Giselle and Albrecht…the drama at the end of the first act is just as strong as the forgiveness and love at the end of the second act.”

Photo courtesy of the Great Russian Ballet.

For Conti, taking on the demanding role of Giselle is part and parcel with her demanding schedule as a ballerina – She averages about six hours in the ballet studio daily, and often teaches ballet after work or on her days off. And she cannot say enough about having the opportunity to take on the role, and do so for the Great Russian Ballet for this international tour.

“I feel honored to represent the Great Russian Ballet on this Canadian tour. I have always loved the Russian ballet and have always been inspired by Russian dancers,” she said. “I have studied one year as a trainee at the Mariinsky Theatre and cherish that year as one of my most treasured experiences.”

For the tour, Conti is joined by 40 incredibly accomplished dancers on stage, in a production that involves stunning costuming and mesmerizing sets. And Conti knows the ballet is sure to entertain audiences across the country.

“Giselle is loved in every country because it is the quintessence of the romantic ballet, and yet its story is always fresh and exciting, as well as easy to understand and to identify with,” she said.

Photo courtesy of the Great Russian Ballet.

Giselle, with music by Adolphe Adam and choreography by Marius Petipa, takes the stage at Kingston’s Grand Theatre on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. To find out more about the Great Russian Ballet, click here.

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