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POSTCARDS: Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater’s "The Jungle Book" with Dancer Giana Carroll

POSTCARDS: Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater’s "The Jungle Book" with Dancer Giana Carroll

By Gianna Carroll

Published on February 2, 2024
Photos courtesy of ACBT / taken by Sarah Takash

A Collaboration Between Gabriel Chajnik, AXCBT Director & Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli, Classical Indian Dance Choreographer

 Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater presents The Jungle Book

February 2-11, 2024 

Axelrod Performing Arts Center, 100 Grant Avenue, Deal Park, New Jersey 07723

How: Purchase tickets online here

Hello! My name is Giana Carroll, I’m a company member with the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theatre. This is my second year dancing with the company, and I have enjoyed every moment.

I grew up in Marlton, New Jersey, and began dancing at South Jersey Ballet School at the age of five. When it was time to go to college, I decided to continue studying dance at Adelphi University.  I  graduated with a BFA in performance and am now dancing professionally with Axelrod. I'm excited to be part of our current production, The Jungle Book, which runs from February 2nd to the 11th  at Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, New Jersey.

Gianna Carroll in Studio; photo by James Jin


In each show we perform there is a unique rehearsal process. In particular,  my work in The Jungle Book is one of the deepest character dives I have done.  We all play roles from the famous The Jungle Book story by Rudyard Kipling.  I am 'Mother Wolf.  My colleagues are Mowgli, Balloo, Bagheera, Sheer Khan, etc.  Because most of the characters in the tale are animals, we must adapt our movements and mannerisms to become like them.

We  wear detailed costumes. Everything is tailored to resemble the animals we're portraying. Headpieces ensure we appear more realistic.  During rehearsals, we have to consider these large headpieces in our spacing. They can make forming small herds on stage challenging -- lots of bumping into each other!  We also have to be aware of how our heads are positioned so that the audience will notice  our character's  masks,  and not our faces. When my mask is on, for example, I need to gaze downwards to showcase my Mother Wolf expression.

Gianna Carroll as Mother Wolf in Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theatre's The Jungle Book

In addition to amazing outfits, and the fun of creating animal characters, the dance styles in our production make for an eclectic and unusual mix.  Our director, Gabriel Chajnik has collaborated with Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli, a classical Indian dance choreographer,  to design choreography which includes  contemporary dance, hip-hop, ballet, Bharatanatyam, and Bollywood. It's a bit of everything wonderful, and I am honored to be part of the show.

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