Ballet West presents Giselle

Ballet West opens  2020 with Giselle, one of the most beloved and enduring cornerstones of classical ballet. Since its Paris premiere in 1841, it has been an instant triumph with audiences, including in Utah. It returns to the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre stage February 7–15 for just eight performances.

A love story, a ghost story, and a tale of forgiveness, Giselle is about a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman, not knowing he is promised to another woman. When she finds out the truth, she goes mad and dies, only to become one of the Wilis, ghostly women who have been betrayed and must spend eternity haunting men. The title role of this ballet has been a touchstone in the legacy of many great ballerinas, who have mastered the technical demands and the emotional depth of the story.

In 2014, Artistic Director Adam Sklute reconceived this ethereal production to present a deeper understanding of Giselle’s characters. “Giselle is one of the world’s oldest classics full of exciting and dramatic dancing, but what really keeps it fresh and alive to this day is the powerful, evocative, and timeless storytelling,” explains Sklute. “In my version, I have worked hard to develop the characters in in-depth and unique ways that make them relatable and bring out the essence and beauty of the story. At the same time, with additional choreography by Principal Ballet Master Pamela Robinson-Harris, we have expanded the dancing to magnify the scope and scale of the whole production.”

Under the baton of Music Director Jared Oaks, the 50-piece Ballet West Orchestra will perform Adolphe Adam’s poignant score. “Best known for his carol O Holy Night, Adolphe Adam was prolific and considered to be the greatest ballet composer of his time,” said Oaks. “Allegedly composed in just three weeks, Giselle was well-received at its premiere in 1841 and has remained a staple of the ballet canon ever since. The Ballet West Orchestra is eager to perform this delicate and dramatic piece.”