A Guide to Giselle and The Australian Ballet Regional Tour
Imagine a group of spirit maidens betrayed in love and seeking revenge on mankind. Add in a complex love triangle involving a gorgeous peasant girl, a handsome nobleman and the local gamekeeper.
Introduce a protective mother, a scorned girlfriend and a serious heart condition, and you'll have some idea of the twists and turns of Giselle.
And while the narrative of Giselle is told through dance, the brilliant direction and breathtaking performances make it easy to follow.
Giselle – a shy peasant girl who is the star of our story. In this year’s tour, Giselle will be played by Soloist Dana Stephensen and Coryphée Karen Nanasca.
Albrecht – a young duke who has fallen in love with Giselle, and dresses as a commoner to win her affections. Played by Principal Artist Andrew Killian and Corp de Ballet dancer Brodie James.
Hilarion – a local gamekeeper and a jealous rival for Giselle’s affections. Played by Corps de Ballet dancers Edward Smith and Mason Lovegrove.
Bathilde – Albrecht’s fiancée. Played by Soloist Dana Stephensen and Coryphée Karen Nanasca.
Berthe – Giselle’s protective mother. Played by The Australian Ballet School’s Anastasia McDonald-Spicer and Alexandra Moore.
Myrtha – Queen of the vengeful Wilis, the ghosts of maidens who have been betrayed by their lovers. Played by Coryphée Nicola Curry and Corps de Ballet dancer Isobelle Dashwood.
Intricate costumes are all part of the ballet experience. The designs of Giselle were created by Peter Farmer, and beautifully contrast the sunny mood of the village with the eerie mood of the ghost-haunted woods.
A dedicated team of talented artisans has worked on the costumes for Giselle, a single tutu can take two weeks of solid work to create, and involve many layers of embellishment.
But as sumptuous as these costumes are, they also have to be practical, allowing the dancers the ease of movement their stunning performances demand.
A night at the ballet should be the most fun you've had all month. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of it.
Wear whatever you like – though it's a great excuse to dress up and make a special occasion of it. Giselle runs for just over an hour and a half, so you shouldn't be wriggling in your seat.
Go wild – It's quite normal to whoop and applaud when the artists finish a dance. Hold something back for the curtain calls though, as cheering, whistling and the stamping of feet in appreciation are all de rigueur.
Enjoy it one bite at a time – from the choreography, to the individual performances, to the music, to the costumes and sets, there’s a lot to enjoy. One way is to break your experience down into bits, paying particular attention to different elements one at a time. Spend a few moments listening closely to the music. Then, take in the whole picture of what’s happening on stage. Then, concentrate on the key performers.
7 trucks, 13 buses, 30 dancers, 40 crates of costumes and sets, 175 hotel rooms, and 200 pointe shoes; all travelling 1,280 kilometres. It takes a great deal to take Giselle on the road. The movement of every shoe, costume, prop and scenery piece has to be meticulously planned and documented, and that's before the logistics of transporting and accommodating dancers, musicians, directors, technicians and support staff are factored in.
We're proud to be the Principal Partner and Official Technology Partner of The Australian Ballet, helping to bring Giselle to your town.