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San Francisco Ballet opens its 2014 season with Giselle

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The San Francisco Ballet opens its 2014 season with Helgi Tomasson's spectacular Giselle. This magnificent production takes audiences on an unforgettable journey from joyous celebrations in a Rhineland village to a lush forest glade where the spirits of young maidens spend eternity dancing away each night until dawn.

Giselle has often been called the greatest Romantic ballet of all time. Romantic ballets such as Giselle and La Sylphide were created in the early to mid-19th century, and were influenced by Romanticism in art and literature, often focusing on love, nature, and higher powers. The Romantic era marked the rise of the ballerina as a central part of ballet, where previously men had dominated performances.

More than 100 years after its premier, Giselle became near to the heart of young Icelandic dancer, Helgi Tommason. "I fell in love with that ballet," said Ms. Tomasson, SF Ballet artistic director & principal choreographer.

Romantic ballerinas are characterized by soft, rounded arms, and a forward tilt in the upper body. This posture gives the women a flowery, willowy look.

The romantic tutus are full, white, multi-layered mid-calf skirts made of tulle, which is free flowing to emphasize lightness to suit the ethereal quality of Romantic ballets. They are a departure from the shorter classical"pancake" tutus, very short, stiff skirts that extend straight outwards from the hips in a flat pancake shape.

"I love the soft quality of Giselle's second act, and using my imagination to portray that I'm floating in air," said Vanessa Zahorian, principal dancer.

IF YOU GO

The final performance of Giselle is February 2, a Sunday matinee that begins at 2 p.m.

Be sure to arrive on or before 1:30 for a "Meet the Artist" interview in the auditorium.

For tickets Call 415-865-2000 or visit sfballet.org.

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