Theatre Preview: Akram Khan's Giselle 

by Polly Hember

The English National Ballet’s world premiere of Giselle by Akram Khan created a cultural stir, receiving widespread acclaim and praise as it opened at the Palace Theatre in Manchester in September. Following a successful run, the production has embarked on its national tour, which this week has come to the Bristol Hippodrome.

Giselle is one of the greatest romantic ballets of all time. Originally choreographed in 1842 by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli, this classic follows the plot of a young peasant Giselle who is tricked by her aristocratic lover Albrecht – but she continues to adore him from beyond the grave. The piece is swathed in classic European Romanticism and Khan draws on themes of love, hope, betrayal and redemption, exploring the naivety and resilience of the heroine as he brings the traditional ballet into the 21st century. With the support of Academy-Award winning designer Tim Yip (known for his work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) who has created the set and costumes, while composer Vincenzo Lamagna has adapted the original score, which will be performed by the English National Ballet Philharmonic, this is a cultural event that should not be missed.  

Of Giselle, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Tamara Rojo, said: “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.”

Award-winning choreographer and dancer, Akram Khan said: “I am eager to start the creation of Giselle for English National Ballet. 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.”


Where The Bristol Hippodrome

When Tuesday 18th – Saturday 22nd October

Time Evenings at 7.30, Thursday Matinee at 2, Saturday Matinee at 2.30

Tickets from £13.90, concessions available 

How Long Approximately 1 hour and 55 minutes with interval

Directed and choreographed by Akram Khan

Visual and costme design by Tim Yip

Music by Vincenzo Lamagna

Lighting design by Mark Henderson

Dramaturgy by Ruth Little 

Assistant choregraphy by Andrej Petrovic

Starring Alina Cojocaru, Isaac Hernandez and Tamara Rojo

Book tickets now 

Click on the links to find out more about the production and to book tickets. 

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