2/8/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Virginia Johnson in the Creole Giselle


Arthur Mitchell’s Creole Giselle performed by the Dance Theatre Of Harlem (DTH), and set the traditional story of Giselle in 1841 Louisiana broke barriers with this African American adaptation. 

In DTH’s version, the setting is updated from medieval Germany and a world of Brother’s Grimm-like supernatural imagery, to the bayous of Louisiana and its own rich history of storytelling.

Virginia Johnson in Creole Giselle

Giselle Lanaux faces the same social obstacles and rejection by Albert Monet- Cloutier. The social hierarchy of freed blacks was measured by how far removed one’s family was from slavery. The community’s “aristocrats” looked down on those whose immediate family had been enslaved. 

Giselle’s Mad Scene- Virginia Johnson

The little known Bayou cast system mirrored the European aristocracy. In additional to choreography and storyline the DTH version featured stellar production elements including lavish costumes, and sumptous sets. 

Virginia Johnson & Eddie J. Shellman in Giselle Act II

Join Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 50 Anniversary 2019 season honoring Arthur Mitchell at New York City Center, April 10 through 13 at New York City Center. For tickets and program information visit nycitycenter.org.

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