Akram Khan's Giselle will be released in cinemas for the first time from 25 April 2018, thanks to a collaboration between English National Ballet and digital commissioning agency The Space, giving UK ballet fans, and later fans all over the world, the opportunity to see this award-winning production on the big screen.
Giselle was re-imagined by choreographer Akram Khan, with Artistic Director and Lead Principal of English National Ballet, Tamara Rojo, dancing the role of Giselle, one of a community of migrant workers cast out of their jobs in a condemned garment factory.
His first full length ballet, Khan's Giselle features set and costume designs from Academy Award-winning designer Tim Yip, known for his work on the hit film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and an adaptation of the original Adolphe Adam score by composer Vincenzo Lamagna.
Giselle was filmed live at the Liverpool Empire in October 2017. ENB Soloist James Streeter dances Albrecht, Guest Artist and American Ballet Theatre Principal Jeffrey Cirio is Hilarion, and Artist of the Company, Stina Quagebeur, performs the role of Myrtha.
The ballet won an Olivier Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance, and has received rapturous reviews.
The Times wrote,
Khan's choreography has never looked better. Working with such finely tuned ballet dancers has given his movement more uplift, especially in the extremely tender duets for Giselle and Albrecht. Yet it's the sensational group dances that resonate most: earthbound, visceral, feral and intense, and moulded with a sculptural beauty.
The Independent said,
Akram Khan's new Giselle is a work of immense confidence and scouring anger. Reimagining one of ballet's most-loved classics, the story of a village girl betrayed by a nobleman, this production is another big, ambitious risk taken by English National Ballet under director Tamara Rojo. It proves to be a triumph for the company and its choreographer.
And The Guardian said,
Khan's choreography rises to the scale of his set design. He uses his 40-strong cast to impressive effect, not only in the big, thrumming ensemble dances, but also in the elaboration of choreographic imagery; the fluid weave of bodies that rise protectively around the dying Giselle, the human threshing machine created by the Wilis as they wield their warrior staves, their feet drumming lethally on pointe.
Stylistically, Khan has steeped himself in the language of ballet, but reinvented it with a rhythmic and visceral heft and a new gestural vocabulary.
This is the first time an English National Ballet production has been filmed for cinema, extending the reach of the company beyond its existing national and international touring programme. The film was commissioned by The Space, established by Arts Council England and the BBC to support greater digital access to the arts.
Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of the English National Ballet, said,
The company is incredibly excited that our fans across the country and around the world will have the opportunity to see this iconic work on the big screen.
We are very proud of Akram Khan's Giselle, a beautiful and original re-imagining of the one of the most traditional pieces of the classical repertoire. At English National Ballet we aim to push the boundaries of ballet, taking the art form to the widest possible audience, and so it seems entirely fitting that this stunning work should be the first production from English National Ballet to be released in cinemas.
AKRAM KHAN'S GISELLE IN CINEMAS FROM 25 APRIL 2018
For more information and to book cinema tickets visit www.ballet.org.uk/giselle-cinema
Running time 105 minutes
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.