NMDT Performance Company Presents ‘Giselle’

NMDT-PC dancers Sarah Dale Devon McCleskey and Sarah Dale and back row from left, Louisa Belian, Rebbeca Cai and Megan Hemphill. Photo by Dan Mahoney

NMDT-PC News:

Love, betrayal and forgiveness reign as the New Mexico Dance Theater Performance Company (NMDT-PC) presents “Giselle,” one of the world’s most beloved and enduring masterpieces in all ballet.

The ghostly love story will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 22 at the Duane W. Smith Auditorium.

NMDT-PC has made a huge impact on the Los Alamos community. In fact, during its 14-year existence, NMDT-PC, directed by Susan Baker-Dillingham, has presented at least 19 original and/or classical ballets including “Dracula,” “Snow White,” “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Aladdin,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Nutcracker,” and several Mixed Bills.

Baker-Dillingham’s Performance Company varies in size every year. To be a member of the company, students from the NMDT School must audition on an annual basis each spring, and commit to the highest standard of performing possible.

“ ‘Giselle’ is an important ballet to share with students who may want to go into professional dance as a career,” Baker-Dillingham said. “Dancers today must be extremely versatile if they expect to move forward in the professional dance world.”

The story of Giselle is a very emotional one and all dancers, no matter their age, must be 100 percent engaged at all times, according to Baker-Dillingham. “Giselle,” first performed in 1841, is one of the most famous of the ballets blanc or white ballets. The term ballet blanc refers to scenes in which the ballerina and female members of the corps all dress in white. Ballets blanc were popular in the 19th century and encompass pure classical ballet.

Basically a ghost story, “Giselle” is the irresistibly romantic yet haunting drama of a peasant girl with a fragile heart who dies from grief after discovering her lover is betrothed to another. The ghostly Wilis, spirits of young maidens betrayed before their wedding day, rise to dance each night in the moonlight, and to lure and take vengeance on men by forcing them to dance to their deaths. The Wilis summon Giselle from her grave into their clan, and target her lover for death, but Giselle’s great love frees him from their grasp.

NMDT-PC’s production of “Giselle” will feature Sarah Dale as Giselle, Devon McCleskey as Albrecht, and Frank Macias as Hilarion. Company members Louisa Belian, Rebecca Cai, Akane Dunn, Naomi Joyce, and Megan Hemphill will also stand out. Sets are by Holly Haas and costumes by Marcy Anderson.

 “Considering the flawless technique, the acting ability and the strong stamina required, the ballet ‘Giselle’ is a big undertaking for my Company, and they are doing all of it very well,” Baker-Dillingham said. “Sarah Dale began with me as a Creative Movement student at age 6. It is amazing to have known her for so long and I am privileged to have been able to guide her training and watch her grow as a dancer.”

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Uli’s Cottontails or at the door 45 minutes prior to performance times. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and free for children age four and under.

The NMDT School is located in the heart of downtown Los Alamos at 147 and 149 Central Park Square. Enrollment is always open to new students. Call 505.661.3226 or go to www.NMDT.org for more information regarding classes or the upcoming performance of “Giselle.”

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