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Olympic Ballet stages 'Giselle' in our own back yard

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By Theresa Goffredo
Herald Writer
  • Dancer Anaise Blazer.

    Alante Photography

    Dancer Anaise Blazer.

Watching "Giselle" might be a little like watching a performance of the Pacific Northwest Ballet at McCaw Hall without the hassle of I-5.
"Giselle," one of the greatest romantic tragedies in ballet, is being staged by two artistic directors who were both PNB leading artists. Also, the leading male dancer was just promoted to principal dancer at PNB.
So who needs the stress of driving south with this kind of talent at Olympic Ballet Theatre in Edmonds? The ballet troupe will give one performance in Everett and a second performance in Edmonds.
"It's nice to have it as a background," said Olympic Ballet's artistic director Oleg Gorboulev, who along with his co-director, Mara Vinson, have run Olympic for two years after parting with PNB.
Both have danced "Giselle" and have a strong draw to the dramatic ballet for its haunting score by Adolphe Adam and its simple choreography, Gorboulev said.
Olympic Ballet staged the production in 2009 so will reuse some of the sets and costumes, though the principal's costumes are specially hand-sewn for this restaging. Audiences might notice the longer veils, which "create more of a mystery though my son, who is 4½, would say 'creepy,'" Gorboulev joked in a phone interview.
"Giselle" is the story of a beautiful young peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman disguised as a peasant to woo her. The nobleman is already betrothed to another woman and after learning all this, Giselle goes mad and dies of a broken heart.
The mad scene is quite the favorite among audiences. It requires dancing and dramatic acting. Returning dancer Jennifer Safonovs, who was in Olympic's recent production of "The Nutcracker," will be a fine Giselle because she is musical and has other contributing skills, Gorboulev said.
"She's a beautiful dancer with nice feet with soft arms and she is musical -- she knows how to fill out those musical gaps," Gorboulev said.
The nobleman who deceives Giselle, Albrecht, will be danced by James Moore, 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.
Vinson and Gorboulev created new staging for this production. In the scene with The wilis -- spirits of jilted maidens who rise from their graves -- they have a more prominent presence in the second act. Under the command of their queen, Myrtha, they take rapturous revenge on the ones that have broken their hearts by forcing them to dance until their deaths, according to press material.
Luckily for Albrecht, Giselle still loves him and forgives him, sparing his life.
Gorboulev said in Act II there's quite a bit of acting involved.
He called Moore a "really good actor."
"He has that noble quality that the role requires yet he has to be playful because he tricks Giselle. He plays the game then when it comes to being noble, he gets noble," Gorboulev said.
"He's a bad character and in the end he paid his price for being tricky.
"Audiences forgive him because Giselle forgives him."
"Giselle" will be presented at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett, and at 5 p.m. April 21 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N, Edmonds.
Tickets are $20 to $30. Go to or call Olympic Ballet Theatre box office at 425-774-7570.
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;
Story tags » DanceEdmondsEverettGo See Do

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