Giselle by Dada Masilo/The Dance Factory at the Quick Center for the Arts, Fairfield, CT, USA
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
Dada Masilo -  Giselle Dada Masilo's reimagined version of Giselle was a brilliant triumph of a success at the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Award-winning South African choreographer and dancer Dada Masilo and The Dance Factory gave a modern, contemporary dance twist to the classic ballet, resulting in a deeper, richer, more intense and powerful interpretation to the theme of love, betrayal, and the supernatural. Bravo!

 

Dada Masilo - Giselle
Dada Masilo - Giselle

 

The 2-act romantic classic ballet, Giselle, premiered in Paris in June 1841, with music by Adolphe Adam, libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier, choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Joseph Perrot, and was performed by the Ballet de Théatre de l'Académiede Musique. The ballet is about a young and beautiful peasant girl named Giselle who falls in love with a Count (Albrecht) who portrays himself as a common villager named Loys to win her heart, although he is already pledged to a countess. Giselle is also sought by the forester, Hilarion, who learns of the identity of the count and warns her against him. When Giselle learns the truth, she becomes mad and ultimately kills herself. It is a tale of love, of tragedy, superstition and ghosts.

 

In Dada Masilo's reimagined Giselle, the story is set in rural South Africa with an original score by South African composer Philip Miller. Dada's use of African dance, rituals and ceremonies gives the story a more vibrant, intense, and harrowing outcome. 

 

Dada Masilo - Giselle Duet
Dada Masilo - Giselle

 

Dada explains, "It is a big challenge to revise yet another classic without repeating myself. I aim to create a work that is not about forgiveness, but about love, deceit, betrayal, anger and heartbreak. I strove to create new movement vocabulary and to push myself interms of story-telling. In the traditional ballet, there is a clear narrative, but the characters are rather two dimensional. The emphasis is on the steps, rather than on the unique psychologies of the protagonists: Albrecht and Hilarion seem just there to support the female lead. Giselle's mad scene relies on messy hair ... I wanted to go much deeper and most importantly, to create Wilis that are really vicious."

 

On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, we attended the Quick Center for the Arts to experience Giselle presented by Dada Masilo and The Dance Factory, as seeing does not begin to explain the intense interaction between the story line, the characters, the dance movements, and the audience. Giselle is Dada Masilo's fourth reimagined version of traditional ballets, all have which have earned her critical acclaim. Her previous works include Romeo and Juliet, Carmen, and Swan Lake, and once again, her interpretation of Giselle, was asuccessful breakthrough encompassing the power and physicality of modern dance witha more intense story line.

 

Dada Masilo and The Dance Factory - photo by Luxury Experience
Dada Masilo and The Dance Factory

 

The use of African rhythms and dance movements combined with gorgeous costumes, an appealing backdrop, and darker lighting, drew the audience in like moths to a flame, whose eyes were transfixed on the theme, the movements of the dancers, and the music from the very beginning to the explosive finale that left us feeling both drained and exhilarated. Dada Masilo is a modern dance master who continues to strive for the very best and delivers the goods! Bravo!

 

Dada Masilo and The Dance Factory Company:

 

Choreography

Dada Masilo

Music

Philip Miller*

Drawings

William Kentridge

Directorial Assistance

David April

Lighting

Suzette le Sueur

Costumes

David Hutt of Donker Nag Helder Dag, Act 1

Costumes

Songzeto Mcilzeli & Nonofo Olekeng of Those Two Lifestyle, Act 2

The Cast:

 

 

Giselle

Dada Masilo

Albrecht

Xola White

Hilarion

Tshepo Zasekhaya

Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis

Llewellyn Mnguni

Bathilde

Liyabya Gongo

Giselle's Mother

Khaya Ndlovu

 

Men/Wilis:
Thami Tshabalala, Steven Mokone, Tschepo Zasekhaya,
Thami Majela  

Women/Wilis:
IpelengMerafe, Khaya Ndlovu, Zandile Constable, Liyabuya Gongo,
Nadine Buys

 

Conveniently located in Fairfield, Connecticut, the Quick Center for the Arts is a 30-minute drive from Greenwich and New Haven, a 60-minute drive from Hartford, and a 90-minute drive from New York City.

 

The Quick Center for the Arts - the center for creativity and culture has an extensive program of theatre, dance, opera, classic, and jazz series, as well as family productions throughout the year.

 

A sampling of the many exciting upcoming programs at the Quick Center for the Arts:

 

Giselle By Dada Masilo

April 18, 2018

 

Machine de Cirque

April 20 - 21, 2018

DBR En Masse

April 29, 2018

The Young Artists Series

May 6, 2018

American Music Series

May 12, 2018

NT Live: Macbeth

May 17, 2018

NT Live: Yerma

June 20, 2018

Summer Camp Programs

July - August 2018

 

For information and the complete list of upcoming programs and events, please visit the website, www.QuickCenter.com.

 

For tickets or information, please call: +1-203-254-4010 or toll-free:1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396).  

 

Quick Center - Fairfield University - Fairfield, CT, USA

 

Quick Center for the Arts
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
United States
Telephone:          +1-203-254-4010
Toll-Free:             +1-877-ARTS-396

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