Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY Presents Technology-Infused World Premiere of @giselle
Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY presents the world premiere of @giselle, a technology-driven, contemporary reinvention of the beloved romantic ballet classic, September 5-7, 2019 at 7:30pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. Born out of Reimagining Giselle, a shorter work commissioned by The Royal Ballet in London, UK, this full-length narrative work will be brought to life by ballet superstars from American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of Canada, and Pennsylvania Ballet. Directed and choreographed by Vancouverite and company founder Joshua Beamish, this innovative production will explore the connections and parallels between the original classical ballet and our understandings of love, sex, and relationships in a world mediated by dating apps, digital illusions, and fleeting encounters.
"I am deeply honoured to bring together such a stellar group of dance artists from across North America to collaborate on such a timely production," says Beamish. "@giselle is a careful examination of the evaporation of true romance in our culture. Utilizing cutting-edge motion capture technologies and screen projections of social media ephemera, this full-length work will challenge audiences to consider the ways that technology has leveraged an unexpected change upon the very nature of modern love and relationships, which now seem fueled by a disdain for accountability and an increase in personal narcissism."
The original version of Giselle, which premiered in 1841 - by what is now known as the Paris Opera Ballet, is based on a German legend, and follows a young peasant girl's journey through the many dimensions of love and betrayal. Giselle dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover, Albrecht, is betrothed to another. The Wilis, a group of mystic and supernatural women who dance men to death, summon Giselle from her grave.
@giselle updates the narrative to present day by telling the story of a character named Giselle who is betrayed, isolated, and ghosted by her romantic partner on social media. In a state of heightened anxiety, Giselle livestreams her untimely death. Later in the work, she returns to haunt her male tormentors in motion-captured animated data particles projected onto the bodies of the live dance artists, creating a haunting tension between live and digital realities.
Beamish further reimagines the ballet by highlighting the ways that social networks such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook have profoundly denatured the ways we fall in and out of love. Exploring concepts of ghosting, and social isolation, @giselle is a bracing new vision of a classic tale that also raises the powerful specter of persistent male power in light of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
Hailed as possessing "an enviable reputation for a choreographic style that emphasizes speed, clarity, and a dazzling array of body isolations" (Toronto Star) - with his work touted as "absolutely singular" (The Globe and Mail), Beamish has assembled a cast of some of the finest ballet artists from across Canada and the United States. Among the all-star ensemble, Catherine Hurlin, the recent 2019 winner of the prestigious Erik Bruhn Prize, and celebrated dancer Stephanie Williams, both from American Ballet Theatre, alternate in the title role. Williams is also portraying Myrtha, a role shared with Yoko Kanomata of Ballet Edmonton. Harrison James,
principal dancer with The National Ballet of Canada, will dance the role of Albrecht, and Sterling Baca, principal dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet, will play Hilarion. Betsy McBride, from ABT, will perform the role of Bathilde, and former Alberta Ballet Mistress and current Ballet BC instructor Beverley Bagg will perform the role of Berthe. The all-star ensemble will be supported by additional talent from Ballet Edmonton, the Alberta Ballet Trainee Program and graduates from varied local dance training institutions such as Arts Umbrella, Richmond Academy, Pro Arte, Tri-city Dance, and SFU.
In addition to creator Beamish, @giselle features stunning animation and projection design by Brianna Amore, and costume design by Janie Taylor, formerly a New York City Ballet principal dancer and current artist with Benjamin Millepied's LA Dance Project. Lighting is designed by Mike Inwood.
@giselle utilizes a recording of the original score composed by Adolphe Adam.
@giselle tickets from $35 (plus applicable fees) at: joshuabeamish.eventbrite.com