Review: Giselle at Dance Base

Taking on one of the most well known and well loved ballets of all, Ballet Ireland have taken a bold step in their version of Giselle, a reinvention of the classic with a modern twist. 

The original tells the story of Giselle and her sorrowful journey through unrequited love and betrayal before dying of grief. However, in this modern day reimagining, director Anne Maher introduces a back drop of murder and suspicion to the tale.

This company is filled to the brim with talent. Most notably, Ana Enriquez- Gonzalez gives an equally tender yet powerful performance as Giselle, with each side of her character played with incredible grace and poise. Hilarion, played by Rodolfo Saraiva, made the role his own as the play’s jilted lover. This character was explored much more than in other adaptations with fantastic results. Saraiva danced with despair, longing and menace, developing a character with true depth. Albrecht, played by Mario Gaglione, also deserves notable mention. The power displayed in holds was incredible and nods to a blossoming career in the industry.

The strongest moments in this production were between Giselle and her two love interests. Impeccable pointe work and fluid contemporary movement were woven in, building suspense and giving us a taste of the torrid romance that drives the story.

Although this production displayed incredible dance prowess, the reimagined plot didn’t really keep up. Whilst the idea of setting this in modern day had potential, the focus lay too heavily on scenes of crime investigation, resulting in more of a ‘whodunnit’ than a poetic look at love. The second act was much more well rounded in this regard, focussing on created a gothic graveyard, with a wonderfully eerie set to work with. The ensemble choreography also gained strength in the second half, using pulses and dramatic pointe work to create the group of ghouls, ready to raise Giselle from the dead.

Ballet Ireland have been brave and bold in their production of this time- honoured tale. It’s well danced and the use of Dance Base’s space allows you to experience the joy of the ballet in an intimate setting. A rare joy, albeit unusually told.

Giselle, Dance Base, 10-19 Aug (not 13), 8.45pm

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