Giselle: A Triumphant Reimagining


I have just had the pleasure, and the absolute privilege, of watching English National Ballet perform Akram Kahn’s Giselle. I’m not even sure if I can articulate how I feel about this production. Words like phenomenal spring to mind but I’m not sure even that would do it justice.
Every aspect of this reimagined classic has been crafted to perfection. Kahn’s choreography is poignant and eloquent, managing to be both true to the classical ballet style whilst also writhing with an earthy, contemporary edge. The combination of classical motifs, that appear like a breadcrumb trail evoking the original choreography, the bodily contortion and contemporary attack, blended with nods to Kahn’s classical kathak, make for a truly original work of art. 
Tamara Rojo is exquisite as Giselle, and carries the complex blend of frantic movement, utter stillness, and expressive gesture with the degree of poise and perfection we come to expect from professional dancers, yet which still manages to astound. Likewise, Stina Quagebuer portrays Myrtha with finesse: exuding other-worldliness and wielding suspense with her every movement. 
Along with the incredible performances of the principles and soloists, the artists of the company were truly breathtaking. For me, their portrayal of the Wilis in particular was striking. It was here, in Act 2, where Khan’s incredible conceptual originality shone: through the flawless execution of the artists. Managing to maintain the famous ethereal vision and movement of the classic, Khan brings a raw, underlying tension to the act, the eeriness of which raises the hairs on the back of your neck. The stunning choreography and performance is complimented beautifully by effortlessly flowing costumes; simple yet effective sets and staging; and a haunting use of light. 
Circling and weaving through the production is another masterpiece; Vincenzo Lamagna’s score. A perfect blend of symphony and silence, threaded through with industrial sound, Lamanga manages to both enhance the choreography and give it space to breathe and speak for itself. In the music, as with the choreography, there are familiar refrains woven through a new and exciting artistic landscape: I can’t imagine a more successful accompaniment.
As if the artistic virtuosity evident in this production was not enough, this unique retelling carries with it themes both old and new, that resonate with extraordinary power. Love, rejection, betrayal, death, revenge and inequality all have their place in the evidently timeless story, and all are expressed in such a way that invites us to consider the impact of such things in our own communities, and indeed the world.
I congratulate all involved in the planning, production and performance of Giselle; it is truly triumphant.

Weekend Fun!

Weekends are the best aren’t they? You can be lazy or busy, go out or stay in, see friends and family, meet lovely new folk, or indulge in some ‘me time’. Today I thought I’d share some of the things that have made my weekend lovely (WARNING: I was spoilt. You may become jealous.)

Two weeks ago today marked six months since I married my fabulous hubby and to mark the occasion he bought me a beautiful pair of earrings and tickets to see Lauren Aquilina play on Valentine’s day. So my weekend kicked off in The Ruby Lounge on friday evening, with a drink in hand listening to awesome music. I’d never been to The Ruby Lounge before but will definitely be going back. It’s a great little venue with comfy leather sofas to relax on whilst the band sets up.

LaurenAquilina

This is the only picture I took all night, I was too busy enjoying myself so I don’t have any pictures of the venue, but I assure you it’s fab. Lauren Aquilina was great (what a gorgeous voice!) and I really enjoyed the support act Gavin James – definitely one to watch.

On Saturday Morning we were up fairly early to go and view some houses. Yep, we are trying to buy a house. If you haven’t had this experience yet, let me warn you now. It. Is. Stressful. But hopefully we  will soon have a lovely space to decorate, play with and call our own, and I’m really looking forward to being able to share that journey when it gets underway.

Once we’d done with all our viewings it was off into Manchester for a mooch round the shops and a trip to the cinema to see The Lego Movie, which by the way is ace. SO FUNNY! You should go see it. This wasn’t any old cinema trip though because the hubby had booked our tickets for The Gallery at the Printworks so we got to hang out in the swanky bar and help ourselves to unlimited popcorn, nachos and soft drinks!

SwankyBar

Obviously this all costs a bit more than your average cinema experience but it was so much fun and made it feel special. We also went back to the bar after the film for a drink to kill time until our table at Avalanche was ready so we got our money’s worth.

I was mightily impressed that hubby had also booked a table for dinner as our usual trick is to wander round until with find somewhere with a less than 30 minute wait. So we had a delicious meal and a made a crane out of my napkin whilst we waited for our bill.

CraneNapkin

Tadaaa!

Our fun filled Saturday was followed by a lazy Sunday. Lounging at home in the morning and a wander round IKEA in the afternoon. We’ve chosen our kitchen for the house we haven’t bought yet and I treated myself to a faux flower in a vase and some colourful wash tape (who knew IKEA sold wash tape!?) to add to my collection.

WashiFlower

So sadly now the weekend is almost over, but  am comforting myself with the thought that after five more work days it is half term! Which means LOTS of crafty/bloggy/me tim, meet ups with friends and a trip to Amsterdam! Yay!

How was your weekend?