By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
It may not be what The Nutcracker is to Christmas, but it’s almost spooky how perfect Miami City Ballet’s Giselle is for Halloween. No, there won’t be any pumpkins plié-ing about, but the classic ballet certainly possesses an otherworldly spirit – or, spirits – haunted as it is by the ghosts of spurned maidens who exact their vengeance on men by dancing them to death.
MCB’s ambitious season, featuring five company premieres and the world premiere of The Fairy’s Kiss by famed Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, takes the stage Nov. 5-6 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
Miami’s own Patricia Delgado, an audience favorite and one of MCB’s most critically acclaimed ballerinas, is among five dancers rehearsing the title role of the peasant girl who, driven insane by her lover’s betrayal, dies of a broken heart only to come back to life – spoiler alert! – to save him from death. It’s a ballerina’s dream role in one of the most romantic and beloved of all ballets.
“One of my favorite times ever onstage was Romeo and Juliet,” Delgado says. “When she dies at the end, you hit that dramatic emotion, the curtain comes down and the ballet is over. In Giselle, when I hit that dramatic arc after the first act, once I’m dead, I get to be that spirit through the whole second act. To realize that the audience and I are going to be able to continue the journey is mesmerizing. To me, that’s what sets the role apart.”
Delgado, whose younger sister, Jeanette, is also a MCB dancer, is known for getting under her character’s skin. But for this role she’s not just relying on research or imagination for inspiration. She’s searching for the Giselle inside of her.
“There are dancers who are born dancing the Giselle variations,” says Delgado, who joined the company as an intern in 2000 and rose to principal dancer seven years later. “I’m gonna be 34 and I’ve never done the role. So I have to find a way to make it personal for me and not try to live up to a classicist.
“Giselle is such a joyful character. She loves to dance. There’s no pain in her dancing,” says Delgado, who started at MCB School when she was 13. “So if I dig deep and remember what it was like when I was a young girl and I had no idea of what it was like to be a professional dancer – just that naive sense of love of dance – if I can look for that authenticity within me, I don’t feel like I’m playing Giselle, I feel like I am her.”
Miami City Ballet’s Giselle, Nov. 5-6 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale; and Nov. 11-13 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. For more info on MCB’s season, visit miamicityballet.org