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DCist: Diana Vishneva in 'Giselle'

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See my review of the Mariinsky Ballet's production of Giselle, published at DCist today:

Mariinsky Ballet's Classic 'Giselle' (DCist, February 10):

The yearly visits by the Mariinsky Ballet -- as in their Sleeping Beauty in 2010 and Don Quixote in 2009 -- are generally one of the highlights of the Kennedy Center's dance season, and this is certainly true of this week's production of the St. Petersburg company's classic Giselle. It is a choreography and staging that are instantly recognizable as the best that the classical ballet tradition has to offer — especially the ballet blanc of the second act, pictured at right — giving the spectator a sort of mythic image of what ballet is. The dancing, going back to the turn of the 20th century and Marius Petipa's updating of the original choreography, focuses more on storytelling than on acrobatic athleticism. Although the lead roles especially are quite demanding, grace is the emphasis more than strength, or at least that is the way it should appear.

The libretto, created by Vernoy de Saint-Georges and French Romantic poet Théophile Gautier from a Germanic legend retold by Heinrich Heine, concerns a medieval love story gone bad. Prince Albrecht, betrothed to Princess Bathilde, disguises himself as a villager to woo an innocent peasant girl named Giselle. Although she is pursued by Hans, the local gamekeeper, Giselle falls desperately in love with Albrecht and dies of a broken heart when Hans reveals Albrecht's identity. In the second act, she reappears as one of the Wilis, spirits of dead girls abandoned at the altar. The Wilis, led by their queen, haunt men in the night, forcing them to dance to exhaustion and then drowning them in lakes. Both Hans and Albrecht fall into their trap, but Giselle sacrifices herself a second time to save Albrecht from doom. [Continue reading]
Adolphe Adam, Giselle
Mariinsky Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House

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