Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David W. Booth/Carita Giles, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

November 2, 2007

NIU School of Theatre and Dance presents ‘Le Corsaire’

DeKalb, Ill. — Pirates, sex, slave girls, belly dancers, kidnapping, mutiny and ballet are the perfect ingredients for the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance mainstage production of “Le Corsaire.”

NIU dance program coordinator Randall Newsom combines elegant dance, swashbuckling pirates and comedic villains into the school’s first production of the classic ballet. Performances will run Thursday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 18, in the Stevens Building O’Connell Theatre.

According to Newsom, “The ballet is actually a comedy that dates back to the 1850s and is rarely done. It’s swashbuckling good fun.” Based on Lord Byron’s poem, The Giaour, the ballet follows the adventures of the pirate Conrad as he finds, loses and then tries to rescue a beautiful slave girl named Medora. 

“It’s all about love, really,” says stage manager Heather Stayton, who has been in rehearsals for the ballet since late September. The sexually charged atmosphere of the production begins the moment Conrad meets Medora and culminates with the ballet’s famous pas de deux (dance for two) sequence.

Jounette Strum disagrees with Stayton, “It’s a pirate show!” she says. As the properties designer for Le Corsaire, she cites the twenty prop swords she constructed for the production as evidence. “Yes, there’s sex, but it’s mostly about pirates and their adventures.”

Although “Le Corsaire” was first produced in 1856 and has been resurrected many times in 150 years, the school is performing it for the first time. According to Newsom, the Le Corsaire Pas de Deux and the Pas de Trois are two of the most popular and most performed excerpts in all of classical ballet and were later added to the original ballet by Marius Petipa.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students. A children’s matinee performance runs at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15. Matinee tickets are only available through reservation by calling (815) 753-1337. For additional information and ticket reservations, contact the School of Theatre and Dance box office at (815) 753-1600.

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