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  • South Africa

Dada Masilo's Giselle

The iconic ballet Giselle is flipped on its head in this searing reinterpretation.
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“Bold, brazen, unapologetic and absolutely enrapturing” 



The classic romantic ballet Giselle is turned on its head by South African dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo.

The setting is a South African village, where the barefoot dancers perform a dazzling dance drawn from classical ballet, contemporary dance and African ritual and the well-known story of betrayal, heartbreak and revenge is given a decidedly contemporary twist. The result is a searing, stunning performance that will resonate in hearts and minds.

Masilo’s radical reimaginings of classical ballets are world renowned. Her Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet boldly deconstructed ballet’s gender and racial dynamics. In this ground breaking new version of Giselle, music by South African composer Philip Miller that features African percussion with elements of the original ballet score and visuals by renowned artist William Kentridge combine with electrifying dancing for an experience that is visceral, bold and unexpected.

Produced by Dance Factory Johannesburg

Image: Stella Olivier

Commissioned by The Joyce Theater's Stephen and Cathy Weinroth Fund for New Work; the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College; la Biennale de la danse de Lyon 2018, Sadler’s Wells. Additional commissioning grant La Batie-Festival de Geneve. With additional funding from the SAMRO FOUNDATION.

The detail


Tickets from $25 - $85 + BF

Premium Adult $85 / Friend $77

A Reserve Adult $75 / Concession $71 / Friend $68

B Reserve Adult $50 / Concession $48 / Friend $45 / Student $25

C Reserve Adult $36


His Majesty’s Theatre


28 Feb - 2 Mar 2019

Thu 28 Feb 2019, 8.00 PM

Fri 1 Mar 2019, 8.00 PM

Sat 2 Mar 2019, 8.00 PM



  • 50% Visual Content 50% Visual Content
  • Assistive Listening Assistive Listening
  • Wheelchair access Wheelchair access

50% Visual Content

additional information


Please Note

Duration: 75mins
Latecomers not admitted.

Warning: Contains nudity.


Artistic Credits

Choreography & Interpretation Dada Masilo
Music & Co-orchestration Philip Miller
Drawings William Kentridge
Directorial Assistance David April
Lighting Suzette LeSueur
Costumes David Hutt of Donker Nag Helder Dag (Act 1), Songezo Mcilizeli & Nonofo Olekeng of Those Two Lifestyle (Act 2)

Dada Masilo
Albrecht Xola Willie
Hilarion Tshepo Zasekhaya
Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis Llewellyn Mnguni
Bathilde Liyabuya Gongo
Giselle’s Mother Khaya Ndlovu

Men/Wilis Thami Tshabalala, Steven Mokone, Tshepo Zasekhaya, Thami Majela
Women/Wilis Ipeleng Merafe, Khaya Ndlovu, Zandile Constable, Liyabuya Gongo, Nadine Buys


About the Artists

Dada Masilo

Born and bred in Johannesburg, South Africa Dada Masilo began formal training at The Dance Factory at the age of 11. At 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, Amherst and Pittsburgh, finishing with six performances at The Joyce Theater, New York. Subsequently, she was nominated for a Bessie award. She returned to New York that September, to stage her Spring at City Center as part of ‘Fall for Dance’ and again six months later to create a gallery work accompanying Romare Bearden’s Bayou series. This was performed at the DC Moore Gallery.

Masilo has collaborated with William Kentridge and has been seen in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Athens, Rome, New York, San Franciso, 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.

The Dance Factory

The Dance Factory 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 nine 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 programs, 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 aspiring theatre technicians, many of whom are now stalwarts within the profession. 

Philip Miller

Philip Miller is a composer and sound artist from South Africa who works in many different media from live performance to film, video and sound installations. His long time collaboration with artist William Kentridge includes the recent projects Triumphs and Laments, Rome, Five Themes at the Tate Modern, London, the opera production Refuse the Hour, the multimedia installation Refusal of Time exhibited at Dokumenta 13, Kassel, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Whitechapel Gallery, London. His live performance of the award-winning choral composition Rewind, a cantata for voice, tape and testimony, has been performed internationally and he has scored numerous award-winning soundtracks including HBO’s The Girl, the Emmy-award winner Miner’s Shot DownThe Book of Negroes and Roots. In 2016 Miller premiered his new video and sound installation, Bikohausen, at Germany’s Darmstadt Summer Music Festival and in collaboration with composer Thuthuka Sibisi, The African Choir of 1891 Re-imagined, at the Autograph Gallery in London.


Post Show Conversation

Fri 1 Mar 9.30pm    


Event Program

To download the event program click here.

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