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Metamorphosis presents Giselle at Queen’s Hall

Thursday, March 22, 2012
Dancers Yia Gomez and Juan Pablo Alba Dennis. Photo: Karen Johnstone


The Metamorphosis Dance Company adds a twist to one of the great romantic French ballets, Giselle, inspired by the 19th century poet, Heinrich Heine. The ballet will be held at Queen’s Hall in Port-of-Spain from April 26 to 29. It is set in the early 1900s on a cocoa estate in Trinidad and tells the story of love and betrayal. Giselle, a young seamstress, is led to believe that the man she loves, Albert, is a simple farmer. But this is far from the truth; he is the heir to the Courland Estate, and already betrothed to the beautiful Mathilde. 
At harvest time, when the villagers gather, Giselle meets Mathilde and they become fast friends. The two women confide in each other that they are about to marry, and Mathilde gives Giselle her necklace, a family heirloom, as a wedding present. Hilaire, the foreman on the estate, who is in love with Giselle, suspects Albert is an impostor. During the harvest celebration all hell breaks lose. Hilaire finds Giselle and Albert together in an embrace and calls Mathilde to see them. 
Both women are shocked, and Mathilde informs Giselle that Albert is her fiancé. Giselle plummets into a fit of madness from her broken heart and kills herself. Because Giselle commits suicide, she cannot be buried on hallowed ground in a churchyard and instead is buried deep in the forest. Suddenly, the apparition of a powerful spirit awakens the other spirits. These are the spirits of women who have also taken their own lives, due to a lover’s betrayal. They bring forth the spirit of Giselle, and welcome her as part of their spirit family. Hilaire goes looking for Giselle’s grave, and is discovered by the spirits. They make him dance until exhaustion. Albert regrets his betrayal and also goes in search for Giselle’s grave. She sees his pain and is unable to torment him. She intervenes and protects him from the torment of the other spirits. She shields him throughout the night and keeps him safe until dawn. Choreography is by Frederic Jahn and Patricia Ruanne, renowned dance masters, who have worked with famous dancers and choreographers such as Rudolf Nureyev, Kenneth MacMillan and George Balanchine, as well as with illustrious dance companies such as the Paris Opera, the Royal Ballet, La Scala, the London Festival Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam, in the roles of dancers and artistic directors.
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