Ten Reasons to See the Columbia City Ballet's Giselle This Weekend

  Columbia City Ballet Principal Dancer Regina Willoughby as Giselle



  1. Giselle is not for children. This doesn’t mean that children won’t be mesmerized by the costumes, movement, and quasi-fairytale quality of the ballet, and there’s nothing adults-only about the ballet or the story. Giselle, however, is a more mature, sophisticated ballet. No little cutie-pies running across the stage. No magic tricks. No hoopla. Pure art.
  2. Dance programming in Columbia tends to respond to ticket sales. We will continue to see mostly narrative, family-friendly (read: little cutie pies running across the stage, magic tricks, and hoopla) if those are the performances that sell the most tickets. And, of course, the converse is true, as well; we will continue to see fewer serious ballets if we, as a dance audience, don’t support a more challenging type of programming—such as Giselle—with butts in seats.
  3. It is time for Columbia dance audiences to grow up. It is time to learn more about the art we support; to mature as audiences so that we expect more than fluff from our dance artists, and to be able to recognize and appreciate it when our dance artists give us something meaty, like Giselle, to chew on.
  4. Columbia’s dance artists are desperate to give you this kind of programming.  Most of the dancers you’ll see on Friday and Saturday nights have been training most of their lives to perform this kind of ballet. The parts are difficult. They are challenging both mentally and physically. What these dancers want more than anything is to offer this level of performance, do it well, and receive some small bit of validation (read: butts in seats and applause at the end of the night) demonstrating that we know they are capable of dancing at this level. This is what they live for.
  5. Giselle is a ballet that appeals to many different types of audiences. There is romance, of course—ballet is a romantic art—but Giselle is not your typical boy-meets-girl type of narrative. There’s not a whole helluva lot of living-happily-ever-after, and the characters of those that do so are profoundly changed by the events that happen in the story line.
  6. Giselle is one of the most sophisticated ghost stories you’ll ever see enacted. Who gives a rot about vampires and mummies—these ghosts are beautiful and massively athletic dead women with broken hearts and an unquenchable desire for VENGEANCE, baby.
  7. Classical art like this is an important part of an art lover’s cultural literacy (and trivia repertoire. The next time you’re at trivia night at the Whig you’ll be able to answer the question: What is a wili? Answer:  A wili is a supernatural being from Slavic folklore – in the case of the ballet Giselle, a wili is a broken-hearted dead woman who dances men to their deaths!)
  8. Craziness. Serious craziness.  Here’s a preview – at the end of the first act of the ballet, Giselle basically goes nuts. I mean, tearing her hair out, wild woman, Uzo Aduba – eyed, post-postal, Mama-say-if-I’ll-be-alright, crazy. Black Swan crazy. Principal ballerina Regina Willoughby will be performing that part. If Regina can pull off crazy as well as she does composed—and I have no doubt that she can—then we are all in for a momentous treat.
  9. Jasper dance editor (and this blog writer’s daughter) Bonnie Boiter-Jolley will be performing the role of Myrtha—Queen Bitch of the Wilis—on Saturday night. The beautiful and, I feel certain, equally ireful Claire Richards will be dancing the role on Friday night.  You have not seen mean until you see how mean this Myrtha character can be. Seriously cold. Myrtha has no problem sentencing boys to their rhythmic deaths with a single swoop of her lily white hand. Just don’t look her in the eyes.
  10. SAVE On TICKETS by subscribing to What Jasper Said (above right) then  entering the promotional code "jasper" to save $10 off price of $29 & $39 tickets at http://www.capitoltickets.com/   Giselle will be performed by the Columbia City Ballet Friday and Saturday, January 31st and February 1st at the Koger Center for the Arts.