A year ago, English National Ballet annnounced a new production of Giselle by Akram Khan for 2016, a co-production with Manchester International Festival and Sadler's Wells. Now there are more details about this fascinating project. While the tweet above shows Tamara Rojo, ENB's Artistic Director, in the designer's studio it is likely that the mannequin on the left isn't wearing Giselle's first act costume, and that the skeleton is not a victim of the Wilis.
A glittering production team has been assembled: Oscar-winning designer Tim Yip – best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – will create the set and costumes; Australian minimalist composer Ben Frost will create an adaptation of Adolphe Adam's original score; Khan's frequent collaborator Ruth Little will cure the dramaturgy; and Tony Award-winner Mark Henderson will light the production.
Rojo is especially pleased to see this project coming together,
From the beginning of my tenure as Artistic Director I have expressed my commitment to keeping the classics relevant. When I decided I wanted to bring Giselle, one of the most traditional pieces of the classical repertoire, into the 21st Century there was only one choreographer I believe had both the knowledge of tradition and creativity necessary for this task. I am incredibly excited that Akram accepted this challenge. I believe this will be a very important step for the whole art form.
English National Ballet and Akram Khan previously collaborated on his piece Dust, which was part of the last year's successful first world war programme Lest We Forget.
Khan says of the project,
It is a beautiful and iconic piece, and I am looking forward to bringing my own take, together with my collaborators and the wonderful English National Ballet dancers. I am still nostalgic from the experience of creating Dust, in the Lest We Forget programme, and am now even more energised to discover the world of Giselle.
Giselle will have its world premiere at the Palace Theatre, Manchester on 27 September followed by a national tour to The Bristol Hippodrome (18 – 22 October 2016), The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (26 – 29 October 2016), and Sadler's Wells (15 – 19 November 2016).
English National Ballet is also thrilled to announce that the project has been supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The investment of £360,000 will enable the creation and delivery of this ambitious collaborative project, as well as helping engage with audiences beyond the stage.
With this production, Sadler's Wells' Alistair Spalding sees two of the theatre's major partners come together:
Giselle sums up why we have embarked on the new relationship with English National Ballet, as it shines a fresh light on a classic work of the ballet repertoire through the lens of one of our most gifted contemporary choreographers. Our investment in this production reflects our ongoing commitment to push the boundaries of dance through the production of innovative and ambitious new work.
Giselle on-sale dates:
Palace Theatre, Manchester
Priority booking: Wednesday 11 Nov at 10am, General sale: Thursday 12 Nov at 10am
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Priority booking: Monday 16 Nov at 10am, General sale: Tuesday 17 Nov at 10am
The Bristol Hippodrome
Priority booking: Monday 23 Nov at 10am, General sale, Tuesday 24 Nov at 10am
Tickets on sale winter 2015.
For more details see www.ballet.org.uk
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.