Giselle is one of the most elegant and graceful of ballets, but it is also one with a very high degree of technical difficulty. It happens to be one of the ballets that every dancer wants in their repertoire. It is also one of the longest running ballets of all time, having debuted in 1841 at the Ballet du Theatre de L’Academie, and it has met with great reception all around the world for over 150 years. The story of Giselle, while romantic, is also dramatic in its tragic nature. Young Giselle is in love with Albrecht, and Albrecht is in love with Giselle. However, with Giselle’s peasant status and Albrecht’s lordship, their relationship could never work, although Albrecht has concealed his lord status from Giselle so that their relationship could flourish. Tragically for the two main characters, Hilarion, a peasant also in love with Giselle, exposes Albrecht’s deception, and in a fit of madness and betrayal, Giselle kills herself at the realization of Albrecht’s lies.
Giselle is one of my favourite ballets of all time. It is wholly of the Romantic Era, from the long tutus, to the form of the music, to the elegant, classical form of ballet. It is a ballet that features beauty in the sublime, and the ethereal nature of the ballet is one that has delighted audiences time and time again throughout the ages. The Alberta Ballet’s production of Giselle was one that the company was finally ready for in its 47th year. A ballet company makes it mark on the world by earning the reputation of performing full productions of some of the classical greats, Giselle being one of them. Guided by the artistic talents of choreographer Flavia Vallone, the company delivered on the debut of the ballet. Akiko Ishii embodied the full character of Giselle, a young girl in love, and Jaciel Gomez danced a role of Albrecht well, playing a prince foolishly besotted with a girl that he could never have. Hayna Gutierrez, who was in the role of Queen Myrtha, was by far my favourite performer of the night. She commanded the stage like a true queen, and her strength and iciness of character showed the true potential of where the dance company will go in the future.
Flavia Vallone, who trained with La Scala in Milan, has been chosen for a one-year refinement stage at the famed Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow. She joined up with Alberta Ballet to provide artistic choreographic interpretation of Giselle. As it is such a long standing ballet, there are variations on and interpretations of the original choreography. Vallone decided to create a Giselle that was more romantic, wherein the relationship between Giselle and Albrecht was one that was very playful. It was a simply gorgeous production of Giselle, and Alberta Ballet lived up to its challenge and intensity.
Giselle is a ballet with a story that everyone can empathize with. The sublime nature of the choreography is designed to draw the audience into the moments between Giselle and Albrecht. Giselle is one ballet that captures the heart and dreams of all those hoping to one day become a prima ballerina due to its complete nature combining the graceful with the technical.