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Giselle Ballet

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Ethereal and statuesque in white shimmering gowns, rows of ballerinas line up, balancing in complete control, amidst the mist, Gothic church ruins and gravestones, while the ghost of Giselle gracefully dances into the hearts of everyone in the audience.

Some scenes are just so hauntingly beautiful that the image stays with you long after you have left the theatre.

Giselle2
Stunning scenes in Giselle


This David Bintley and Galina Samsova production of Giselle is making a welcome return. Once again, Birmingham Royal Ballet's choreography, set, costumes and dancers all align to create dark yet dreamy, memorable moments on stage.

The heart-wrenching tale features two acts of stark contrast. The first sees our heroine, village girl Giselle (a wonderfully sprightly Jenna Roberts), in love while tootling around a sunny Rhineland idyll, where a waterfall flows on the hill, flowers are in bloom and all is right with the world.

Bouncing through steps with her amour, the villagers also add to the happy mood, celebrating the end of the grape harvest in their folk dresses. A harvest pas de deux from Momoko Hirata and Tzu-Chao Chou makes for a delightful interlude from the extremely watchable pair.

However, a change in mood is never far away and the lovers' happiness is threatened by the arrival of a hunting party, which leads to the revelation that Giselle's love is actually Count Albrecht in disguise and he is already engaged to a noble lady.

The devastating news causes Giselle to go mad and kill herself in despair.

It is during a marvellous, eerie second act, at Giselle's graveside, that the remorseful count must face his own demons along with those of the avenging spirits - with the help of Giselle's ghost.

Giselle1
Birmingham Royal Ballet's Giselle is a memorable production


This second act is particularly mesmerising with ghostly ballerinas gliding (and even flying) under arches of a ruin.

Jenna Roberts making her debut as Giselle, is a real find, and the partnership between her and talented crowd-favourite Iain Mackay, (Count Albrecht) is superb. The chemistry makes for a wondrous, gentle and sentimental pas de deux.

Giselle is one of the most performed romantic ballets, but this production first performed in Birmingham in 1999, with its Gothic undercurrent and underlying menace still has that striking presence that gives it the edge.

Giselle will be performed at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday (June 22).
It will then tour to:
Belfast Grand Opera House from June 26 to 29
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin from July 4 to 6

For tickets and information, visit:
Birmingham Royal Ballet Website
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Why? Ghostly ballet with a Gothic edge
When: Until July 6th
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham, Belfast & Dublin
Cost: £15 - £47
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