Giselle, English National Ballet, Southampton



I went to see The English National Ballet perform Akram Kahn’s Giselle today at The Mayflower, Southampton.

And bloody hell, what an amazing ballet it was! Totally different than anything I’ve seen before, and really was, as they say, a complete reimagining of the story of Giselle. I won’t give any spoilers away for anyone going to watch it, but I love what Akram Kahn and the ENB creative team have done differently to the story. It is definitely a contemporary ballet, and the first contemporary ballet that I’ve seen, so did take a few minutes to get into the ‘non classical ballet’ mode in my mind. The staging, the score (which is so eerie) and the costuming really lend themselves perfectly to this production. Some parts of the ballet was actually really, really quite scary. In fact they were scary as hell! If you’ve seen the film ‘Silent Hill’, then that gives you a bit of an idea of some of the impressionist – almost surreal – aspects of the ballet. It made you feel uncomfortable and incredibly uneasy (in a weird, good way) at some points, particularly Giselle’s madness scene. Very well choreographed, incredible dancing and definitely worth watching if you get chance to see it (even if just on DVD in the future). Bravo ENB 👏👏👏 Had a fair few goosebump moments and definitely had a tear in my eye in a few places. Plus a special hats-off to the queen of the willies who, whilst en pointe, dragged Giselle halfway across the stage. Bloody hell!!