The Australian Ballet and the Imperial Russian Ballet Company perform at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre

The Illawarra Performing Arts Centre is on pointe this week with two major dance companies performing.

Joseph Romancewicz, formerly of Oak Flats, returns home for the first time dancing with The Australian Ballet which will present the romantic classic Giselle on Wednesday and Thursday.

The 19-year-old is in his graduating year at The Australian Ballet School and finally able to tour with the company.

“Working with the company is amazing and given me so many opportunities,” he said.

The Australian Ballet's 'Giselle'. Picture: Supplied

The Australian Ballet's 'Giselle'. Picture: Supplied

“[I enjoy] dancing with a bit more boys, because I didn’t dance with many boys up in Wollongong [at Joanne Grace School of Dance] because as you can imagine they’re all playing football … so that’s a good change.”

The heartbreaking love story  of Giselle was first performed in Paris in 1841. Jade Wood plays the title role in the current production, something much coveted by dancers she said.

“It’s such a traditional ballet it’s definitely one that I think a lot of people always want to have a go at and it’s such a beautiful story of love and betrayal and forgiveness,” she said.

“It’s a really nice ballet to delve into emotionally.”

The Imperial Russian Ballet Company then takes to the helm from Sunday with three days presenting a mix of works.

A Festival of Russian Ballet by the Imperial Russian Ballet Company. Picture: Supplied

A Festival of Russian Ballet by the Imperial Russian Ballet Company. Picture: Supplied

Labelled as a “festival” the three hour program includes highlights from some of the world’s greatest traditional and contemporary ballet’s including Don Quixote, Bolero, The Dying Swan, Le Corsaire and more.

Russian dancer Irena Gharibyan, 21, always dreamed of becoming a ballerina and is thrilled to be now be touring the world.

She said the rumours you hear of dancers having horrible feet are true.

“The girls wear pointe shoes that are very hard so it deforms your toes … I try not to wear open toe [shoes],” Gharibyan laughed, calling it a sacrifice for her ultimate job.

The Australian Ballet's 'Giselle'. Picture: Supplied

The Australian Ballet's 'Giselle'. Picture: Supplied

OPEN CLASS

Meantime, aspiring ballet dancers aged 13 to 18 will have the opportunity to attend an open class with The Australian Ballet on Thursday at 4:30pm.

It gives dance students the chance to participate in a class on stage with a member of the artistic staff, with live piano accompaniment. Tickets are $29 per student and can be purchased at www.australianballet.com.au 

Catch Giselle by The Australian Ballet, IPAC, Wednesday October 4 and Thursday October 5.

A Festival of Russian Ballet, IPAC, Sunday October 8 until Tuesday October 10. www.merrigong.com.au 

This story Two major ballet companies visit Wollongong this week first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.