A Magical Storybook Come to Life

​Review of Giselle at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Giselle 0915

If a magical fairy came up and dumped fairy dust TNT on your favorite childhood storybooks, you’d have Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Giselle. With swirling romance, fierce jealousy, and stage effects to make every person “Ooh” and “Ahh,” you’ll be wondering how PNB pulled off this magical classic.

The story of Giselle is short and sweet: Rich guy likes girl. They fall in love. She finds out he’s rich. She dies from shock and becomes a ballerina zombie. And a bunch of sad stuff happens. PNB manages to turn this simple story into an elegant and captivating performance worthy of the word “beautiful” in every sense.

Seeing a set so elegantly crafted made me feel like a happy corgi .gif inside. Glowing golden trees, glittering lakes, and light shining from the heavens decorated the storybook-like stage. The perfect balance of painted pieces, physical props, and dancers was absolutely captivating. Of all the sets I’ve seen, this has become one of my favorites, not for qualities like grandeur or flashiness, but beauty and simplicity.

If you looked up the word “lovely” in a dictionary, you’d see a big fat picture of the PNB orchestra. At times, it felt like the dancers were embodiments of the music, every movement connected to a string of notes. My favorite moments of the choreography were those where it seemed as though the music was emanating from the bodies of the dancers. That being said, there were several moments where the dancer’s movements were choreographed to be off-beat from the music. I have no background in dance or choreography, but as a musician, this characteristic of ballet has always bugged me a little.

As you would expect from such an amazing dance company, the performers not only delivered beautiful dancing, but acting as well. Kaori Nakamura, PNB’s award-winning principal, flawlessly brought Giselle’s bubbly and spirited character to life. Before she retires at the end of this season, be sure to witness her incredible skill and talent. With the men of the show, you’re also in for a treat. Jerome Tisserand blew me away with how well he could match the air and grace of his female counterparts. Even though he probably weighed twice as much as Kaori, he looked just as light.

The magical fairies, also called artists, musicians, and dancers, have come together to bring the magical story of Giselle to life. Witness this wonder by heading down to PNB to see this storybook unfold.

Pacific Northwest Ballet
May 30 - June 8

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