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Press Release - Dance Consortium presents Dada Masilo's Giselle - Autumn Tour 2019

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Dance Consortium presents









Dance Consortium is delighted to announce Dada Masilo’s forthcoming UK tour of Giselle. Following the international success of her acclaimed reinterpretations of Carmen, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake, Soweto-born dancer and award-winning, internationally-renowned choreographer, Dada Masilo brings her latest production Giselle to the UK this autumn with London premiere performances at Sadler’s Wells on 4 & 5October, and a subsequent tour taking in Nottingham, Bradford, Birmingham, Salford Quays, Milton Keynes, Brighton and concluding in Canterbury on 2 November.


The tour is an exciting addition to Dance Consortium’s 2019 performance schedule and continues the organisation’s unparalleled commitment to bringing the best international contemporary dance to audiences across the UK. Dada Masilo’s Giselle is a Sadler’s Wells’ co-production and marks Dance Consortium’s 45th tour since 2000.


Dancing in the title role, Masilo leads her company of twelve exceptional dancers with theatrical mastery, accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful score from South African composer, Philip Miller, which fuses electronic sampling from the orchestrations by Adolf Adams, layered with African voice and percussion. Masilo was born and raised in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. Trained in classical ballet and contemporary dance she fuses these techniques with African dance steps to create her high-speed style. Giselle marks the fourth classic Masilo has reinterpreted in a decade and cements her growing reputation as a powerful and dynamic choreographic voice on the international stage.


This is Giselle but not as you know it. Opening in a lively South African village, Masilo's Giselle tells the story of a trusting peasant girl who is thrust into a world of betrayal and shame when her lover rejects her. Spurned by her family and killed by heartbreak, Giselle returns from the grave as a supernatural being bent on revenge.


Mixing contemporary dance, traditional Tswana movement and the vocabulary of classical ballet, Masilo recontextualises the themes of grief and revenge inherent in the original and asserts a timely #metoo twist to the traditional Giselle narrative. Barefoot and grounded in her body, Masilo’s protagonist is the antithesis of the weak, frail and vulnerable Giselle with whom we are familiar. Myrtha is recast as a male Sangoma, or traditional South African healer, and the Willis - both male and female - are a vicious mob ready to exact their revenge.


As a dancer, Masilo has impressed with her signature speed of movement and the precocious theatricality with which she embodies her roles. As a choreographer, her fine instinct for staging and her deep love for the classics sees her tackle the established ballet canon with remarkable boldness and daring artistry.


Dada Masilo says of her Giselle: “I wanted to make a ballet that was not pretty …I wanted to get away from that and bring it back home to South Africa and give it that edge, put it into that context. The world that we’re living in right now, there’s so much disruption, so much chaos happening, I think the Giselle that I made fits very well into what is happening round the world. My approach is to show that contemporary African dance and ballet can co-exist by finding an innovative way of fusing the two. I believe that we need to collapse barriers that exist between them because they are restrictions, and as dancers we don’t need restrictions.”


Dada Masilo’s Giselle received its world premiere at DansensHus, Oslo in 2017, co-commissioned by The Joyce Theater’s Stephen & Cathy Weinroth Fund for New Work, the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Lyon Dance Biennale 2018, and Sadler’s Wells. Additional commissioning grant from La Batie-Festival in Geneva, with additional funding from the Samro Foundation.








Dance Consortium presents Dada Masilo’s Giselle – UK Tour 2019 - listings information:


Sadler’s Wells LONDON

4 – 5 October at 7.30pm (PRESS NIGHT: Friday 4 October at 7.30pm)

Tickets: 0207 863 8000 // www.sadlerswells.com // ON SALE 15 April


Theatre Royal NOTTINGHAM

8 – 9 October at 7.30pm

Tickets: 0115 989 5555 // www.trch.co.uk // ON SALE 26 March


Alhambra Theatre BRADFORD

11 – 12 October at 7.30pm

Tickets: 01274 432000 // www.bradford-theatres.co.uk // ON SALE 15 April



15 – 16 October at 7.30pm

Tickets: 0844 338 6000 // www.birminghamhippodrome.com // ON SALE 29 April



22 – 23 October at 7.30pm

Tickets: 0843 208 6000 // www.thelowry.com // ON SALE 29 March



25 – 26 October at 7.30pm

Tickets: 0844 871 7652 // www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes // ON SALE 3 April



29 – 30 October at 7.30pm

Tickets: 01273 709709 // www.brightondome.org // ON SALE SOON


The Marlowe Theatre CANTERBURY

1 – 2 November at 7.30pm

Tickets: 01227 787787 // www.marlowetheatre.com // ON SALE 8 April


Duration: 75 minutes


Dada Masilo’s Giselle press quotes following the April 2018 at the Joyce Theater, New York:

“A Giselle who asserts her daring at nearly every turn” New York Times

“Yanks the original’s subtext of sexual and class violence to the surface” Financial Times

Masilo’s Giselle is a marvel of intelligence and dance craftsmanship in every respect” Critical Dance

“A powerful piece of dance theater” Dance Tabs

“Not only radical, but timely” Dance Magazine


Dada Masilo’s Giselle:

Choreography: Dada Masilo

Music: Philip Miller

Drawings: William Kentridge

Directorial assistance: David April

Lighting design: Suzette le Sueur

Costumes: David Hutt of Donker Nag Helder Dag (Act 1);

Songezo Mcilizeli & Nonofo Olekeng of Those Two Lifestyle (Act 2)


Dada Masilo was born and bred in Johannesburg, South Africa. She began formal training at The Dance Factory at the age of 11. At the age of 19, she was accepted as a student at the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels, where she remained for two years. She returned to South Africa and in 2008, was awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance. Three commissions from the National Arts Festival resulted in her ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (2008), ‘Carmen’ (2009) and ‘Swan Lake’ (2010). Since 2012, her works have toured extensively throughout Europe. In 2016, she staged and performed her ‘Swan Lake’ in Ottawa, Montreal, Hannover, finishing with 6 performances at The Joyce Theater, New York.  In May 2017, she premiered her ‘Giselle’ at DansensHus, Oslo. It has since played in Kuopio (Finland) at the University of Johannesburg; and at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the Wits 969 Festival in Johannesburg, Impulstanz in Vienna (Austria), followed by seasons in Geneva, Rome, Ferrara and Reggio Emillio. 2017 ended with performances of Masilo’s ‘Swan Lake’ in Singapore and across Germany. In 2018, ‘Giselle’ was performed in Hanover NH, New York (at The Joyce Theater), in Los Angeles (at the Wallis-Annenberg) and at the Quick Center, Fairfield University. Subsequently, ‘Giselle’ has played in Montreal, Lyon and across Italy. Masilo has also collaborated with William Kentridge and has been seen in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Athens, Rome, New York, San Francicso, Los Angeles, Perth, Avignon and Vienna, in his ‘Refuse the Hour’. Masilo performs in her own works, together with some of South Africa’s finest dance artists, selected by audition. She is Artist-in-Residence at The Dance Factory.


Awards: 2016 Nominated for a Bessie Award (Swan Lake), 2017 Danza&Danza Award for ‘Best Performance 2017’ (Giselle), Prince Claus ‘Next Generation’ Award 2018.


Dada Masilo / Dance Factory Johannesburg - The organization was established in 1992, in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the primary aim of creating a home for dance. In 1994, it moved from temporary accommodation to a renovated bus repair warehouse, where it now has a large studio and a 220 seat theatre. Based in the city centre, it is accessible to dancers and audiences from town and township. Between 1993 and 2001, The Dance Factory coordinated 9 annual dance festivals for Arts Alive, a project of the City of Johannesburg. These festivals were a platform for a wide range of dance: quality international guests such as Donald Byrd/The Group (New York), Rosas (Brussels), Scapino Ballet (Rotterdam), professional dance companies from across South Africa, tertiary dance programmes, community dance groups, youth groups – covering styles ranging from classical ballet to gumboot, from physical theatre to pantsula. The festivals also offered training to young aspirant theatre technicians, many of whom are now stalwarts within the profession. The participation of township youth groups (selected by audition), brought to The Dance Factory, many highly talented young people. One such, was the 11 year old Dada Masilo, with the Soweto-based youth group, The PeaceMakers. At the request of group leaders, The Dance Factory instituted a programme of formal training. For a good 10 years, this was primarily funded by The Royal Netherlands Embassy. What began as a once a week project, developed into an intensive 7 days a week programme, where up to 60 under 18s received training in ballet and contemporary dance and performed works by South Africa’s best emergent choreographers. The Dance Factory also accessed funding for formal education at the National School of the Arts and other establishments which offered quality academic tuition. Of course, many youngsters could not stay the course, but those who remained were assisted, on leaving school, to continue their training both in South Africa and abroad. On leaving the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels, Dada Masilo returned to The Dance Factory, where she became Artist-in-Residence. As such, she had access to the studio and theatre and received technical and administrative support in order to develop her career.


Composer, Philip Miller was born in South Africa in 1964.  Based in Cape Town, his work is multi-faceted, often developing out of collaborative projects in theatre, film, video and sound installations. Philip Miller trained firstly as a lawyer at the University of Witwatersrand and practised as a copyright lawyer. He studied music composition in South Africa with composers Jeanne Zaidel Rudolph and Peter Klatzow at the University of Cape Town Music School. He completed his postgraduate studies in Electro-Acoustic music composition for film and television at Bournemouth University. Whilst doing so he studied with UK composer Joseph Horovitz. He then returned to South Africa to begin working full time in music. One of Miller’s most significant collaborators is the internationally acclaimed artist, William Kentridge. His music to Kentridge’s animated films, and multimedia installations, has been heard in some of the most prestigious museums, galleries and concert halls all over the world, including MoMA, SFMOMA, The Guggenheim Museums (both New York and Berlin), Tate Modern, La Fenice Opera House and Carnegie Hall. Miller’s compositional process could be best described as one of both musical excavation, fragmentation and then, rebuilding these fragments or shards working with both elaboration and layering and ‘sound collage” techniques.  It often incorporates samples of “ found sound’” recorded texts and  shards of conversations which serve as counterpoint to the musical context in which they are embedded, intertwining both acoustic and electronic sound elements into his work. His works reflect on his pre-occupation with using sound as a means of exploring memory, states of trauma and the re-examination of historical archive in a sound world of his creation.He has scored numerous soundtracks to film and television programs, including his Emmy-nominated soundtrack to HBO’s The Girl. Other recent scores include Miners Shot Down, The Bang Bang Club, Black Butterflies, and Phillip Noyce’s Mary and Martha. Miller is currently an honorary fellow at ARC (The Research Initiative in Archive and Public Culture) at the University of Cape Town.


Dance Consortium is a group of 20 large scale UK venues with a shared passion for engaging people with the best contemporary dance from across the world. Since its formation in 2000 Dance Consortium has presented 44 tours by 24 different companies from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, The Netherlands, Taiwan, Israel and the USA. Their performances and education activities have been experienced by hundreds of thousands of people across all parts of the UK. Dance Consortium receives investment as a national portfolio organisation of Arts Council England.


Dance Consortium members: Grand Opera House Belfast; Birmingham Hippodrome; Alhambra Theatre Bradford; Brighton Dome; Marlowe Theatre Canterbury; Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff; Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin; Festival Theatre Edinburgh; Curve Theatre Leicester; The Peacock, London; Sadler’s Wells London; Milton Keynes Theatre; Theatre Royal Newcastle; Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham with Dance 4; Theatre Royal Plymouth; The Lowry Salford; The Mayflower, Southampton; New Victoria Theatre, Woking; Hull, New Theatre; Norwich Theatre Royal.







Photo credit: Dada Masilo’s GISELLE. Photography Stella Olivier

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