Dark romance, lovely dancing, and a life-sized stuffed deer

Review of Giselle by Kaitlin S., age 19

The International Ballet Theatre’s (IBT) performance of Giselle cuts straight to the heart and clearly demonstrates why this ballet has been arguably the world’s most historically well loved ballet and objectively, the world’s oldest continuously-performed ballet since it’s release on June 18, 1841.

Giselle’s plot follows a deadly love triangle involving the following characters: Giselle, a peasant girl; Albrecht, a charming prince; and Hilarion, a hunter. When Albrecht disguises himself as a peasant to seek the affections of Giselle, Hilarion, becomes incensed with jealousy. He snoops through the Prince’s possessions in search of “skeletons in his closet” and discovers Albrecht’s royal class. Hilarion shares the Prince’s true identity with Giselle, who, very shortly thereafter, also discovers that Albrecht had been engaged to a noblewoman throughout the duration of her relationship with him. As the story progresses, its setting shifts from our world into a mysterious, fairytale land of shadows and spirits. The ballet’s dark plot suits the way in which Adolphe Adams, a prominent, prolific composer wrote its score: quickly (over the course of one week) and almost entirely at night. Although the music used in IBT’s performance is not live, its quality is high enough not to distract from the performance. IBT’s choreography echoes the ballet’s original choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot for the Theatre de l’Academie Royale da Musique.

Many elements of IBT’s version of the ballet, such as its sets and costumes, are very historically traditional. However, the ballet contains some surprises such as a massive live dog; a life-sized, stuffed deer; and a sea of fog that eerily billows over the stage and spills into the audience. The Meydenbauer Theater provides a venue for the ballet that is as personal as many high school auditoriums. The International Ballet Theater’s performance of Giselle may not appeal to some of Teen Tix’s younger patrons, due to the sheer length of “sitting-down-while-listening-to-classical-music time” it requires. However, it is well done, and those with mature artistic taste will fall in love with this romantic ballet.

Kaitlin S.
May 15th, 2008

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