Olympic Ballet closes 32nd year with ‘Giselle’

The ballet has been performed worldwide and is thought by many to be the most revered Romantic-era ballet
By Pat Ratliff | Mar 21, 2013
Photos by: Pat Ratliff

The Olympic Ballet Theatre (OBT) will close its 32nd Performance Season with “Giselle,” considered ballet’s greatest romantic tragedy.

“Giselle” has been popular since its Paris premiere in 1841; telling the story of a beautiful young peasant girl who dies of a broken heart after realizing she’s been deceived by a nobleman disguised as a peasant.

OBT patrons will recognize Jennifer Safonovs, who was guest artist at “The Nutcracker.” She’s been invited back to dance the role of Giselle.

Starring alongside her will be James Moore, a newly promoted principal dancer of Pacific Northwest Ballet.

“James and I danced together in my last performance at PNB, so it is great to have him be in our production at OBT,” Vinson said.

The production features powerful new staging by OBT Artistic Directors Oleg Gorboulev and Mara Vinson and is accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful score by Adolphe Adam.

Audiences will marvel at the splendid new costumes that are being especially hand-sewn for OBT’s restaging thanks to support from Edmonds’ Hazel Miller Foundation, the Tulalip Tribes, the Everett Cultural Arts Commission and generous OBT patrons who donated to the costume fund.

Of special interest are two OBT “veterans,” Chessa Chalmers and Aeden Conefrey, who have stepped up and are dancing important parts of “Giselle.”

Conefrey, 16, an Edmonds-Woodway High School sophomore, has been dancing for five years, the last two with OBT. He plays a peasant in the “pas de deux.”

“Dancing is such a big part of my life,” Conefrey said. “Dancing is it for me.”

Chalmers is also 16, and goes to Englemore School in Kenmore. She is also in her second year at OBT.

“People don’t realize what a big part of you ballet can be,” she said. “It’s a huge part of my life.”

Both dancers figure they average more than 16 hours a week practicing, and each hope to dance professionally in the future.

They have a message – “Come to the show, bring your friends; we want lots of people.”

“Giselle” has been made memorable by its famous “mad scene” which calls for great dramatic abilities of the title character. The ballet has been performed worldwide and is thought by many to be the most revered Romantic-era ballet.

OBT presents two performances of “Giselle”:  Sunday, April 14, at 5 p.m. at the Everett Performing Arts Center; and Sunday, April 21, at 5 p.m. at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.olympicballet.com or by calling Olympic Ballet Theatre Box Office 425-774-7570, M-F 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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