Ballet shines


Venue: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver

Dates: 21-23 February, 2002

Reviewer: Ross Michael Pink

Winnipeg may not be a world cultural capital yet in ballet circles the Royal Winnipeg Ballet shines. This recent production was an example of classical ballet in its finest hour.

Artistic Director Andre Lewis, a former dancer of note, has a grasp for elegance and perfection and fuses his company performances with these stellar qualities.

Giselle was choreographed 160 years ago and remains a favorite of ballet aficionados. It is a timeless story of love, fantasy and mortal angst.

The tale focuses on Giselle, who, betrayed in love, slays herself with a sword. Her lover, Albrecht, is left in despair. After dying, Giselle becomes an eternal spirit of girls who have been betrayed in love.

Despite betrayal, Giselle returns to save Albrecht from certain death at the hands of the cruel Queen. Giselle dances one last time with Albrecht then vanishes forever thus leaving her lover alone and despondent.

The music was created by Adolphe Adam.

The lead roles were danced by Vanessa Lawson and Reyneris Reyes.

Lawson is an elegant dancer who emotes feeling for the role and tragedy of Giselle.

Reyes is a dancer who exudes strength and earthy charm. He was a member of the Cuban National Ballet for six years and toured Europe and the United States. In 1998 he was promoted to principal dancer and joined the Royal Winnipeg ballet as a soloist in 1999.

He recently danced in Nina Menon's Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.

RWB is a company with many "firsts" to its name. It was the first Canadian ballet company to tour Israel, Australia, Egypt, Cypress and Athens. They performed before the King and Queen of Belgium in 1977 and staged a ballet with legendary dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1973.

Such a distinguished ballet record was in evidence at the QET and the RWB surely will be enchanting audiences for many years to come.

2002, Ross Michael Pink

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