While researching for our school‘s December recital, La Bayadere, I came across this montage of the Dutch National Ballet’s Giselle Act 2 and first marveled at the liberties with the restaging, because I was on “restager” mode. Giselle is one of my favorite ballets (definitely much more than La Bayadere, which isn’t even in my top 5), and is in fact one of my top 3 (and it’s a top 3 only because I can’t choose which one I love better than the others), and I know the entire choreography by heart; that’s how much I love this ballet. I judge a ballet company for the quality of its Giselle. My favorite Giselles ever are Natalia Makarova (thanks to our overplayed VHS tape of her and Baryshnikov), Alessandra Ferri (thanks to the movie Dancers, and YouTube), and Anna Villadolid.
The Dutch Giselle makes “improvements” to the original version, adapting to the evolution of dance technique and general sensibilities. Most of the new things (that is in this clip, at least) I do approve of, like the way Myrtha is more evil by changing the angling of her head and some of her steps, and hurray for Hilarion, they made his death scene more exciting and worthy of the guy dancing it (historically, Hilarion doesn’t wow you with his dancing, he is merely a device to move the story along).
I also love how Anna Tsykankova as Giselle (credited on the YouTube page) effortlessly stays in the air in her first variation as a wili. It made me nostalgic for the one and only time I did Giselle in my life, which I wrote about two years ago in FB and reposted here.
I also love how gorgeous the set is: the trees on the backdrop, and wow, how the sky changes from midnight to dawn. Also, look at the gravestone towards the end, when Giselle goes back to her grave. That part was partly cinematic cheesery, but also partly awesome! But I don’t like how it ended, with Albrecht, lilac in one hand, reaching for the sky center stage as the curtain closes, no visual and emotional match for the original ending where Albrecht typically embraces the flowers he leaves on Giselle’s grave and lets them fall to the floor as he walks backward diagonally, realizing miserably that these are just flowers and he is alone.
Go watch it now.