Some of the OTB Homeschoolers went to Rhode Island College last Friday to see the Rhode Island State Ballet perform Giselle. For some of the OTBHers, this was the 2nd performance by the Company that they had attended. It was my first time, and I wasn’t sure how my teen would like it. We had gone to The Nutcracker in Boston last Christmas, but he wasn’t familiar with this show. I have to say, it was excellent.
This performance with the Company’s dress rehearsal, and several schools were in attendance for field trips as well as lots of homeschooling families. We got there without a moment to lose, and found our seats.
Giselle is about a young girl who is courted by a duke in disguise. The local huntsman is vying for her affections, but Giselle falls in love with the duke. Giselle loves to dance, but has a weak heart and her mother warns her not to over exert herself. The girl doesn’t listen. When the king and princess come to town, the huntsman exposes the duke for who he really is, and it is revealed that the duke is also betrothed to the princess. This drives Giselle mad with grief, and she dies of a broken heart.
During what would be the intermission, the choreographer taught the children about the themes expressed in the first act, and also had several of the dancers demonstrate things like leaps, ballet positions and lifts. She even pointed out how knowing some of the moves might help them in their other sports, like soccer, football and basketball.
The second act takes place in the forest where Giselle is buried. She is visited by a group of spirits of women who died from broken hearts before their weddings. They haunt the forest seeking revenge by forcing any men they find to dance themselves to death lead by the spirit bride-queen. They come upon the huntsman who is forced to dance himself to death. When they inflict the same sentence on the mourning duke, Giselle’s love helps him to survive until daybreak and releases her from the fate of the other brides-to-be, allowing her to return to her grave and rest in peace. This sounds terribly gruesome, but it was actually my favorite part of the show because of the costumes and the way the dancers looked like they were floating across the stage.
This show got a thumbs-up from my teen (boy even!), and I would definitely return for another season with the Rhode Island Ballet.
What has been your favorite homeschool fieldtrip? Tell us about it in the comments.