Love on and off stage for WA Ballet’s Giselle

Juan Carlos Osma and Dayana Hardy Acuna
Picture: Andrew Ritchie d495353
Juan Carlos Osma and Dayana Hardy Acuna Picture: Andrew Ritchie d495353

CUBAN dancers Juan Carlos Osma and Dayana Hardy Acuna have a love story fit for the ballet stage.

While never speaking to each other while training at Cuba’s National School of Ballet Fernando Alonso Academy in 2010, fate brought them together a few years later when they joined The Joburg Ballet in South Africa.

“We were at The Joburg Ballet and started to become close the second year there,” 28-year-old Acuna said.

“We’ve now been together three-and-a-half years.”

Juan Carlos Osma and Dayana Hardy Acuna. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d495353

Osma (27) said their relationship was not instant but more a gradual realisation they both desired the same things in life.

Since then the couple has been inseparable, performing with Carlos Acosta’s Cuban company Acosta Dance and Liaoning Ballet in China before joining WA Ballet in January.

“That was a key point to us coming to WA Ballet, that they wanted both of us, which was good,” Osma, of East Perth, said.

“WA Ballet had the right balance of location, quality of work and we wanted to go to a specifically classical company.

“I’d been to Perth before in 2011 and 2013 with Ballet Revolucion so knew the city. It’s clean and we’re chilled, so we like it here.”

The company is rehearsing for September’s production Giselle, choreographed by artistic director Aurelien Scannella and principal ballet mistress and artistic associate Sandy Delasalle, who danced the haunting classical tale of heartbreak together in Europe.

This version was the first production they choreographed for WA audiences in 2014, where peasant girl Giselle falls in love with prince Albrecht.

After discovering Albrecht is already engaged, Giselle dies of a broken heart and her spirit joins the Willis, vengeful female ghosts who lure men into the forest, making them dance until they die.

Juan Carlos Osma and Dayana Hardy Acuna. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d495353

Giselle is the ultimate classical ballet every company performs, the difference here is that Aurelien and Sandy both bring their personality in to it,” Osma said.

“It’s more related to the energy of the company; it’s the same ballet but it’s personalised.

“From a dancer’s perspective, Giselle is technically highly-demanding, especially this version. It’s one of the hardest I’ve seen because Aurelien and Sandy want us to portray what they did and they’re very talented.”

Acuna said Scannella and Delasalle gave dancers the opportunity to create their own character within the role.

“Sometimes we try to act and Sandy tells us not to act, ‘just feel like this is you’,” Acuna said.

“Feel when you ask ‘How are you?’ or say ‘I love you’. You have to feel everything you do and the ballet is there.”

Dancing has been life for both Osma and Acuna since their childhoods.

Acuna, who likes to paint and knit, originally thought she would attend a school to study music but also passed the test for ballet.

“I was 10 years old and I didn’t know anything about stretching my legs but I was told they could train my body to have this amazing career,” she said.

“Ballet is so hard but every time we are in the studio or go on stage, your heart reminds you how much you love it.”

In comparison, bass player Osma said he was always in love with music and moving.

“In Cuba it is very normal to dance and to be rhythmical, so my father asked me what I wanted do be, either a musician or a dancer,” Osma said.

“I didn’t know but because I kept dancing all day they put me in a classical school when I was eight years old; I stayed because I liked the girls there.

“It was like a sport at first. As a little boy you want to try tricks and see how high you can jump and turn and then you find out you can also tell stories. You grow into it and become addicted to it.”


What: WA Ballet’s Giselle

Where: His Majesty’s Theatre

When: September 13 to 28


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