Giselle on pointe at His Majesty’s for West Australian Ballet’s new season…

Jesse Homes as Hilarion dances with the Wilis in West Australian Ballet's production of Giselle. Photo by Sergey Pevnev.

Giselle is one of the oldest known ballets to be performed, created in Paris 178 years ago. It’s a beautiful and romantic story with some very technical dancing and a beautiful score.

West Australian ballet first performed Giselle in 2014 with the arrival of then new artistic director Aurelien Scannella.

Five years on and Giselle returns again for another superb rendition from the company choreographed by Aurelien and his wife principal ballet mistress, artistic associate and choreographer for WA Ballet Sandy Delasalle.

One of the stories I loved hearing from this production of Giselle was how much this ballet means to both Aurelien and Sandy.

They have their very own love story happening because in 1997 in Germany when Aurelien had his first role dancing the lead of Prince Albrecht and Sandy was Giselle, not only did they fall in love with the dance, they fell in love with each other.

So out of the very tragic love story of Giselle, a story of happiness blooms behind stage with Aurelien and Sandy.

To find out more about this very special love story make sure you buy a program at the performance as it not only outlines what Giselle means to them it also features some beautiful photographs of their performances together. 

The love shines and I think it permeated the cast on opening night as we saw another world class opening season performance.

Giselle is set in a village in Germany around the harvest celebration and a beautiful peasant girl Giselle falls in love with Albrecht the Duke of Silesia who disguises himself as a peasant to court her.

Sounds easy but Giselle has another admirer Hilarion the game keeper and Albrecht fails to mention that he is already betrothed to another.

During the festivities the Prince of Courtland arrives with his daughter Bathilde who meets Giselle and is entranced with her innocence and beauty sharing stories of their love and finding they are both engaged, unfortunately it is to the same man.

The act finishes with Albrecht’s disguise revealed and Giselle’s death.

The second act returns to see Hilarion praying by Giselle’s grave but chased away by the a group of supernatural spirits of betrothed maidens known as the Wilis.

This act sees some of the most beautiful and precise dancing from the company including some highly technical work from Jesse Homes as Hilarion and Oscar Valdes as Albrecht. 

Chihiro Nomura makes dancing Giselle look effortless and Myrtha Queen of the Wilis danced by Polly Hilton performed some amazing pointe work.

In the last few seasons Sandy Delaselle has worked closely with dancers and really improved the timing of the ballet de corps, it really is noticeable and the performance of the Wilis was delightful.

I thought when I was sitting in the audience on opening night how lovely it would to be a tourist in Perth; the second most isolated city in the world; buy a ticket to see Giselle; sit in the superb surroundings of His Majesty’s Theatre listening to the beautiful score from West Australian Symphony Orchestra and watching a world class performance of one of the oldest classical ballets. One would never want to leave…

Bravo WA Ballet! 

Giselle plays at His Majesty’s Theatre until 28 September 2019.

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