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Eugene Ballet's 'Giselle' stunning.

Byline: Gwen Curran For The Register-Guard

CORRECTION: Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, was danced by Danielle Tolmie in Eugene Ballet's "Giselle." A ballet review in Sunday's Oregon Life section incorrectly identified the dancer as Beth Maslinoff. To open their 37th season, Toni Pimble and the Eugene Ballet Company chose "Giselle," the greatest full-length ballet of the Romantic Era. It was stunning.

This performance was dedicated to Riley Grannan, who after a 38-year career with Eugene Ballet Company has retired.

He and Pimble co-founded Eugene Ballet in 1978. He performed many roles within the company. For the past 25 years, he was managing director.

Congratulations on a job well done, Riley. We look forward to seeing you on stage and in the community supporting Eugene dance.

We watched a brief film enlightening us of his life with Eugene Ballet and then watched him dance the role of Duke, where he was warmly received.

Adolphe Adam (1758-1848) was a prominent Alsatian composer best known for "Giselle."

The story revolves around a love triangle.

Giselle (Yoshie Oshima) falls in love with Count Albrecht (Hirofumi Kitazume). However, there is another suitor. Hilarion, the gamekeeper (Reed Souther), is jealous of the Count.

The plot thickens when the Duke (Grannon) brings his daughter Lady Bathilde (Danielle Tolmie), who is the Count's fianc, to the village.

Hilarion unmasks the Count. Giselle does not believe him, but when Bathilde fondly greets the Count, the shock drives Giselle into madness and she dies of a broken heart.

The original staging was by Louis Godfrey. Eugene Ballet's dancing was superb, with nary a flaw.

Oshima's Giselle was delightful, light and airy as befits a young girl. She ran and flew across the stage with such lightness of being it was difficult to consider her tied to the earth, although her mad scene forced her to her knees.

Kitazume's Count was a perfect classical dancer. His leaps and jumps flowed with male energy as he soared like a beautiful bird.

Both mime and ballet are part of the choreography. The Act I peasant pas de Quatre (Yuki Beppu, Yamil Maldonado, Beth Maslinoff and Mark Tucker) deserves praise for its energy and flawless technique.

Act II takes place in a graveyard. We meet the Wilis, spirits of women deceived by their betrothed who arise at night from their graves. Any man who encounters them is forced to dance to their death.

Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis, was danced to perfection by Beth Maslinoff.

The Wilis included Brooke Bero, Marilyn Brady, Vivien Farrell, Suzanne Haag, Victoria Harvey, Erin Johnson, Sarah Kosterman, Savannah Louis, Emily Merkley and Sara Stockwell.

All in white, with white veils, their sorrowfully slow identical movements conveyed mesmerizing beauty.

Hilarion visits Giselle's grave but is driven to his death in the lake. The Count grieves at her grave. Giselle appears. Astonished, he tries to catch her, but she eludes him.

Giselle is touched by his grief and pleads for his life, but is refused by the Queen. Giselle sustains Count Albrecht with her love, and their pas de duex is exquisite in its mournfulness.

Dawn breaks, Giselle has to leave and a sorrowful Albrecht leaves the stage.

The audience was on their feet immediately. We fell in love with Giselle. PERFORMANCE REVIEW Giselle When: 2 p.m. Sunday Where: Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center, Seventh Avenue and Willamette Street Tickets: $29 to $59, $23 to $53 for high-schoolers or younger, $15 for full-time college students with ID (eugeneballet.org)

Gwen Curran of Eugene reviews dance for The Register-Guard.
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Title Annotation:Reviews; Co-founder Riley Grannan, retiring after 38 years, dances the role of Duke
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Theater review
Date:Oct 30, 2016
Words:588
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