The ending of the upcoming production of Unveiled was so under wraps that even the dancers didn't even know the final moments until a few weeks ago.
Based on the traditional ballet Giselle, Unveiled sees Canberra choreographers and dance educators Suzy Piani and Bonnie Neate, takes the tragic tale of a young peasant girl and brings it into the modern era through contemporary dance.
"The whole thing has been deconstructed and reconstructed in a very different manner," Piani says.
"Even the ending is not the traditional ending. The dancers were in the dark up until a week or so ago. We just had a little bit of a carrot in front of them as to what's going to happen right in the last few seconds."
In the original - which was first performed in 1841 - Giselle dies from a broken heart after she falls for the philandering nobleman, Albrecht. The second act focuses on the spirits who take revenge on men who betray their lovers.
It's these dark themes that first attracted Piani and Neate to Giselle. However, Neate says for today's audience, Giselle's mortal fate wouldn't cut it. Audiences wouldn't believe that she died of a broken heart and thus, the pair started to look at themes of revenge, betrayal and depression instead.
"We've retained the innocence of Giselle's character when she's hurt, and when she's been deceived by Albrecht," Neate says.
"But we've also brought in another side to her character. She doesn't just sit down and do nothing. She's got a little bit more confidence, and she does go down a bit of a dark road.
"And we have really brought home the frivolity and the philandering manner of Albrecht. We have really pulled him apart, to see that he's really just a really big philandering mess."
The Unveiled project itself represents something larger than just a one-off performance. The project is hoping to fill a gap in the dance offerings in Canberra.
It's hoping to be the bridge between dance schools and those who go on to tertiary studies and professional careers. It aims to challenge those in their late teens and early twenties before they head onto the next step of dancing careers or to give them an avenue to continue developing their skills while studying or working in a different field.
If all goes well, it is hoped the project will continue in coming years.
"We have highly trained dancers and they just need more challenging choreography, they need a longer set in order for them to really get their teeth into it," Piani says.
"That's why we came up with the idea of doing a full-length piece to really push those dancers in that direction. Whether they're in the contemporary genre, ballet genre, even in jazz, if they're technically trained we invited them for our audition.
"We've got dancers, for example, who are here at university or working in Canberra, not necessarily as dancers, but they have this bank of beautiful technique behind them. They're highly trained and they still want to be dancing and still want to be challenged."
- Unveiled will be at Erindale Theatre on Friday and Saturday at 7pm. Tickets from Sticky Tickets.