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GISELLE (article first published : 2001-09-17)

The South African Ballet Theatre is a bold newly-formed ballet and dance company comprising members of the former State Theatre Ballet and Dance companies. It will bring an exciting new version of the romantic ballet Giselle to Durban for a short season in the Playhouse Drama.

Among the company are Catherine Royce and Fiona Budd, two former Durban dancers who trained with Durban teachers Dudley von Loggenberg and Noleen Nicol.

The unsubsidised South African Ballet performed a sell-out season of Giselle at the State Theatre in Pretoria in March. They followed this with a highly successful tour to Bloemfontein, Welkom, Port Elizabeth and East London, bringing ballet to centres that had been starved for too long of this exquisite and increasingly-rare art form - and the audiences showed their appreciation with well-filled houses.

The company then performed Veronica Paeper's powerful and exciting Carmen at the State Theatre in June - a treat which Durban audiences can also look forward to as SABT will be bring this ballet to Durban next year. The company has just completed an extremely well-received run of Swan Lake at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, the season was extended due to public demand and sold-out performances.

Giselle is a ballet in two acts telling the story of a young peasant girl, Giselle, who innocently falls in love with a peasant Loys who is actually Duke Albrecht in disguise. His deception is revealed and, unable to cope with the betrayal, Giselle goes mad and dies of a broken heart. Albrecht is captured by the Wilis and their Queen. Wilis are the spirits of girls who have been jilted before their wedding days and sworn eternal revenge on men who stray across their path by forcing them to dance until exhausted and then drowning them. It is only the intervention of Giselle that saves Albrecht from a similar death.

The production is an exquisite new version by Irina Zyrianova who has drawn on her Russian training and heritage to produce a magical evening of ballet. The principal roles will be danced by Angela Malan, Burnise Silvius and Karen Beukes partnered by Iain MacDonald, Kimbrian Bergh and Orlando Russell.

Tickets range from R75 to R85 (including box-office fee) and block bookings for ten people or more are available at a 10% discount. The season will run from October 2 to 7 in the Playhouse Drama. Performances Tuesday to Saturday at 19h00 with extra performances on October 6 and 7 at 15h00. Book at TicketWeb and from the theatre box office on (031) 369-9444

More details from The South African Ballet Theatre on (012) 322 - 1665 or e-mail: saballet@yahoo.com




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