WOONSOCKET — For former Woonsocket resident Corey Bourbonniere, it all started with a dream that turned into a reality thanks to a lot of hard work, passion and sacrifices.
On March 23 in Rhode Island College's Roberts Auditorium in Providence, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancer and State Ballet of Rhode Island (SBRI) alumnus will dance the male lead role (Albrecht) in The State Ballet of Rhode Island’s matinee performance of “Giselle,” a timeless love story of romance, deception, betrayal and forgiveness.
Bourbonniere is looking forward to his hometown debut.
“I'm so honored to be able to be a part of the first ballet I was ever in, on the stage where I first performed ballet," he says. "I can't wait for my friends and family to be able to see how much I've grown, and I can't tell you how much it means to me to get to perform at home again."
Following the show on March 23, there will be a meet-and-greet session for theater patrons, dancers, family members and friends in celebration of Bourbonniere's "great and growing achievement," says (SBRI) artistic director and choreographer Herci Marsden.
Bourbonniere is now a professional dancer for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, he received his ballet training at The State Ballet of Rhode Island after participating in the company’s performance in a walk-on role. Ironically, Bourbonniere's first appearance in a ballet was Marsden’s “Giselle” in 2006.
With his passion for classical ballet ignited, Bourbonniere auditioned successfully for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program in 2009 at the age of 16. He was invited to stay for PBT’s full-time high school program as well as its graduate program, where he got the opportunity to perform the lead role of the Waltz Boy in George Balanchine's "Serenade." Both "Serenade" and "Maelstrom" are his favorite ballets he has danced to date. He also attended summer programs at the American Academy of Dance and the Texas Ballet Theater.
In the summer of 2012, Bourbonniere was asked to join the Pittsburgh company. Now, 20 years old, he has danced in Andre Prokovsky's "The Three Musketeers;" Ben Stevenson's "Dracula;" Viktor Plotnikov's "A Gershwin Fantasy;" Jorden Morris's "Peter Pan;" John Neumeier's "A Streetcar Named Desire;" Mark Morris's "Maelstrom;" Antony Tudor's "Jardin aux Lilas;" and Terrence Orr's "The Nutcracker," "Giselle" and "Coppelia."
“We are so excited to share the stage once again with Corey and showcase his accomplishments for his hometown Rhode Island," says Ana Marsden Fox, SBRI executive director. "SBRI takes pride in knowing that our shared love for ballet is alive and flourishing through so many dedicated and blessed dancers, namely Corey. His passion, growing artistry, and undeniable talent are clear to all that dance with him and watch him from afar. His SBRI family is proud of his achievements so far in his career and look forward to enjoying his promising future.”
“Giselle", the most famous romantic ballet of the 18th century, was inspired by the legend written by Heinrich Heine. From this legend Theophile Gautier, the French poet and balletomane, adapted the immortal story of Giselle and Count Albrecht. It was first presented by the Ballet du Theatre de L’Academie Royale de Musique, Paris France in June 1841.
The ballet tells the story of a village maiden who falls in love with a Duke in disguise known as Albrecht. However, Hilarion, a man hopelessly in love with Giselle, see’s deception masked within Albrecht and seeks to expose his true identity.
The State Ballet of Rhode Island’s performances of "Giselle" will be at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on March 22; and 2 p.m. on March 23 in Rhode Island College's Roberts Auditorium in Providence. All seats are $10.
Marsden has chosen three couples to dance the leads. In addition to Bourbonniere and Emily O’Heir at 2 p.m. on March 23, principal dancers Peg Chobanian and Mark Marsden will perform at 10 a.m. and principal dancer Melissa Sorkin and soloist Derek Kunz will premier at 7:30 p.m. on March 22.
For tickets, call SBRI at (401) 334-2560 or RI College Box office at (401) 456-8144.