Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet, Features & Spotlights, News + Media

Behind the Ballet: Becoming Gilbert Blythe

October 15, 2019

Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

 

 

Daniel Da Silva dances the role of the charming Gilbert Blythe in CBJ’s production of Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Daniel began dancing in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste before moving to Vancouver to continue his training at Pacific Dance Arts. He joined Canada’s Ballet Jörgen in 2009 and has performed a range of roles, including Florimund in Sleeping Beauty, Prince and Suitor in Cinderella, Romeo and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, Dimitri in Anastasia, and Lord Birch in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition. In this interview, Daniel brings us inside the exciting process of becoming Gilbert Blythe for the first-ever full-length ballet of Anne of Green Gables.

 

 

“The audience deserves a story that is told with as much honesty and clarity as possible. If you do the same thing over and over again, it can become automatic and stale. I make micro-changes to keep things fresh.”

 

 

Scene with Hannah Mae Cruddas as Anne Shirley.

 

 

How would you describe Gilbert Blythe?
Gilbert is a fun character! He’s intelligent and confident without any real worries in life because things come easier for him. He also loves playing pranks on the girls. He may sometimes come across as arrogant, but he’s actually a really good guy who tries his best to be nice, most of the time.

Describe the process of becoming Gilbert and creating an all-new ballet?
I’ve worked with our Stage Director Heinar Piller to learn how Gilbert would react to the situations arising around him. One of the hardest parts for his character is trying to win Anne over as a friend after they have a poor first introduction. It’s a real time of character growth. You need a good understanding of his personality to react to these types of situations as he would. I’ve read the book and have watched many different film and television versions of Anne of Green Gables. Gilbert is always played a little differently, but in the end, he’s a smart character. I’ve also been having a lot of fun playing different roles in the creation of the ballet. I helped create Matthew Cuthbert, who is completely different from Gilbert. He’s really shy and is supposed to not express much, but at the same time, there is a lot that he feels that needs to be communicated to the audience. As a dancer that has been with the company for several years, I also like helping out with artistic insights in the studio involving props and movements.

 

 

Daniel Da Silva as Gilbert Blythe.

 

 

 

“It’s a very physical role. Gilbert himself is very carefree, so it’s a very energetic role with jumps, tricks, and lifts, which I enjoy.”

 

 

What is challenging about the role of Gilbert Blythe?
The biggest challenge is making sure that my interactions in every performance are as natural and real as the last. The audience deserves a story that is told with as much honesty and clarity as possible. If you do the same thing over and over again, it can become automatic and stale. I make micro-changes to keep things fresh.

What do you enjoy most about dancing this role?
It’s a very physical role. Most of the guys in the production are playing kids and teenagers who express themselves with strong bold movements. Since this is a period piece, the women are a bit more reserved, but the guys are more boisterous. Gilbert himself is very carefree, so it’s a very energetic role with jumps, tricks, and lifts, which I enjoy.

You can see Daniel dancing the role of Gilbert Blythe in the inaugural tour of CBJ’s Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™. Click here for a list of tour dates across Canada and the United States.

 

Written by Victoria Campbell Windle, CBJ Communications Contributor.

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