Thursday, 20 June 2013 13:12

SPAC Offers Series of Events in Conjunction with National Ballet of Canada’s “Giselle”

By Staff Report | Entertainment
A scene from “Giselle.” Photo by Bruce Zinger. A scene from “Giselle.” Photo by Bruce Zinger.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — As Saratoga Performing Arts Center prepares for the premiere of the romantic story ballet, “Giselle,” three educational events will be offered in conjunction with the National Ballet of Canada’s visit. 

Co-presented by SPAC, Saratoga Film Forum and the National Museum of Dance, the trio of events will begin June 23 with a film forum screening and Q&A reception of Academy Award-nominated film “A Portrait of Giselle”. The Q&A will take place after the screening with dance critic Jay Rogoff. 

In addition to the film forum screening, the National Museum of Dance will host both a lecture June 25 and a dance class June 26. The lecture, titled “Giselles Gone Wild: The Nature of the Romantic Ballerina,” will be given by noted scholar Mindy Aloff. The June 26 Ballet Master Class will be offered by Rex Harrington, former principal dancer and current artist-in-residence at the National Ballet of Canada. 

“We are pleased to co-present three unique events inspired by SPAC’s premiere of the National Ballet of Canada’s breathtaking, full-length production of ‘Giselle,’” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s president and executive director. “The first two events will offer participants insights into the fascinating story behind ‘Giselle,’ as well as perspectives on how it influenced the evolution of modern ballet. The Master Class offers dancers the rare opportunity to take a class from a professional who has danced on stages across the globe.”

Since its premiere with the company in 1970, Sir Peter Wright’s “Giselle” has been a mainstay of the National Ballet’s classical repertoire and one of the company’s most popular works. “Giselle” features sets and costumes by Desmond Heeley and lighting by Gil Wechsler. Based on a fairy tale about a peasant girl who falls in love with a dashing prince disguised as a commoner, “Giselle” follows its heroine through a haunting story of betrayal, heartbreak, forgiveness and redemption. The National Ballet of Canada will present three performances of Giselle during its July engagement in Saratoga: Wednesday, July 17 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, July 18 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. For tickets or more information visit or call (518) 584-9330. 



A Portrait of Giselle presented in partnership with the Saratoga Film Forum

SPAC and the Saratoga Film Forum will present the Academy Award-nominated documentary film A Portrait of Giselle, followed by a reception and an informal discussion moderated by local dance critic Jay Rogoff. An important historical document, the film offers an inside look at what is widely considered one of the most important female roles in ballet history. The 98-minute film features Patricia McBride and Anton Dolin, along with famous ballerinas who danced the role of Giselle in the past. The evening concludes with wine and hors d’oeuvres reception.

Time: film screening 7 p.m. – 8:40 p.m.; reception and discussion: 8:45 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. 

Place: Saratoga Film Forum, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs 

Cost: Tickets are available at the door only: $8 general admission; $6 for Film Forum members & students and SPAC members.  



“Giselles Gone Wild: The Nature of the Romantic Ballerina” by Author Mindy Aloff with guest appearance by Rex Harrington, National Ballet of Canada

Barnard College Professor of Dance, and New York Times writer, Mindy Aloff will present a probing lecture on the history of the ballerina role Giselle, in the context of 19th and 20th century ballets. Aloff’s work has appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker and The New York Times. Special guest Rex Harrington, former principal dancer and current artist-in-residence at the National Ballet of Canada, will offer comments on the company’s production of Giselle. The evening concludes with a wine & hors d’oeuvres reception. 

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. followed by reception

Place: National Museum of Dance, 99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs 

Cost: Tickets are $10 and available at  and at the door.



Master Class with Rex Harrington, The National Ballet of Canada 

A Master Class for advanced dancers will be led by Rex Harrington at The National Museum of Dance School of the Arts Studios. Harrington, a former principal dancer and current artist-in-residence at the National Ballet of Canada, has danced on stages across the globe and worked in partnership with some of the most acclaimed ballet dancers of his era.  

Time: 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 

Place: National Museum of Dance/School of the Arts Studios, 99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs

Cost: Reservations can be made online at; $20 general or $15 for ballet school students.

For More Information: Questions regarding the class, dance level and eligibility can be directed to the Dance Museum’s School of the Arts at (518) 584.2225 ext. 3008 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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