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Coast is clear for Queensland Ballet's biggest show of year

Culture

Queensland Ballet will be staging the biggest production of its 2020 season next month, with three performances of Giselle scheduled to take place at the Gold Coast’s Home of the Arts from November 12-14.

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In May, Queensland Ballet announced it would be shifting its entire 2020 season to next year, with artistic director Li Cunxin telling InQueensland at the time that the move was designed to “provide certainty and clarity”.

The company’s dancers have since produced their own works as part of the 60 Dancers: 60 Stories series, which were created during social isolation and have since performed in intimate settings at Brisbane Powerhouse, HOTA and Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

Giselle is a ballet from the romantic era that follows the story of an innocent peasant girl.  Tricked into love with a deceitful count, Giselle transforms into a forgiving spirit who saves her lover from death at the hands of the vengeful Willis.

Giselle was not part of the originally planned 2020 season and Li said although it was a difficult ballet to perform both physically and emotionally, the dancers were more than up to the challenge.

“The dancers have embraced rehearsals for the full-length romantic ballet Giselle, alongside the current rehearsals for 60 Dancers: 60 Stories, which is touring at the moment,” Li told InQueensland.

“Our dancers are used to juggling a full schedule and multiple productions, so though it’ll be intense, it’s what they know and have missed during the COVID shutdown.

“Especially for the principals, Giselle is a very challenging ballet technically and requires a deep commitment to their roles emotionally.”

Li said HOTA’s outdoor stage would provide the perfect backdrop for this production of Giselle, which will be helmed by Ai-Gul Gaisin.

“Everyone in the company is so excited,” he said. “Dancing is their life, and to do a ballet like Giselle under the stars will be very special.

“In the second act all the women in the company are dressed in long white tutus, and to be lit up under a night sky will give the ghosts an ethereal quality.”

Li said Giselle’s central themes made the ballet accessible and relatable for first-time attendees and ballet aficionados alike.

“Everyone can relate to the themes of love, and in Giselle’s case unrequited love and forgiveness.

“Act one is very joyful set in a village with big dancing scenes, which the audience always enjoys. It contrasts with the second act which is very stylised, romantic and beautiful.”

Next month’s Gold Coast performances are the only productions of Giselle that Queensland Ballet currently has on its calendar. HOTA chief executive Criena Gehrke said the venue was excited to be welcoming Queensland Ballet back.

“We’re delighted to see the always incredible Queensland Ballet touring again,” Gehrke said.

“The opportunity to see Giselle performed under the stars on our outdoor stage will be an incredibly special experience.”

 Tickets for Queensland Ballet’s Gold Coast season of Giselle are on sale from 2pm today, with limited seats available due to COVID restrictions. For tickets and more information, visit hota.com.au

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