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We take a look back to the creation of Akram Khan's Giselle and how the production has come along since it premiered in 2016.

November 2014

Following the creation and success of Dust, Akram Khan’s first work for English National Ballet, Artistic Director Tamara Rojo announces the commission of Akram Khan’s Giselle.

April – July 2016

Akram Khan begins to try out choreographic ideas over several research and development sessions.

Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo in one of the first research and development sessions for Akram Khan's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo.

August 2016

Rehearsals with the full Company start.

Artists of English National Ballet in rehearsals for Akram Khan's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo.

22 September 2016

First public preview at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

27 September 2016

World premiere at Palace Theatre, Manchester. The New York Times reviews the work as a “beautiful and intelligent remaking of the beloved classic”. The Company then tours the work to Southampton, Bristol and London, where it opens at Sadler’s Wells on 15 November.

Palace Theatre, Manchester ahead of opening night on 27 September 2016.

Alina Cojocaru as Giselle and Isaac Hernandez as Albrecht in Akram Khan's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo.

March – July 2017

Akram Kahn’s Giselle receives several awards, including the Robert Robson Best Dance Production prize at the Manchester Theatre Awards and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance.

At the 2017 Olivier Awards, English National Ballet wins the award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, for expanding its repertoire with Akram Khan’s Giselle and the triple bill She Said.

Tamara Rojo in Akram Khan’s Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

September – November 2017

First London revival, and first performances in Liverpool, where the piece is filmed for a future cinema release.

Tamara Rojo and James Streeter in Akram Khan’s Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

March 2018

Performances in New Zealand, as part of the Auckland Arts Festival. This is the Company’s first ever visit to the country. On opening night the fire alarm was activated and the theatre, including the Wilis, had to be evacuated only for the performance to resume shortly after!

Angela Wood on tour in New Zealand 2018 © Laurent Liotardo

25 April 2018

Akram Khan’s Giselle is the first English National Ballet production to receive a cinema release. It is screened across the UK, and then is released in Spain, Portugal, Japan, France, Romania, Germany and more. Later it is broadcast on TV in Japan, Germany, Sweden, Portugal and more.

May 2018

English National Ballet returns to Dublin for the first time since 1962, with performances at the Bord Gáis Engergy Theatre as part of the Dublin Dance Festival.

English National Ballet during the Dublin tour of Akram Khan's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo.

June 2018

Asian premiere at the Grand Theatre in Hong Kong.

October – November 2018

The Royal Ballet of Flanders hire the production and their first performance is presented on 16 October 2018 at the Opera House, Ghent with further performances in Antwerp and Charleroi, Belgium.

28 February 2019

North American premiere at the Harris Theater in Chicago, to wide acclaim. This is the Company’s first visit to the USA in 30 years. Arts lovers from 33 states within the US and 6 countries travel to Chicago to see the production.

The Chicago Tribune says: “It’s stunning – all of it. And this should be said: this is perhaps the most satisfying dance experience I’ve ever had”.

Jeffrey Cirio and English National Ballet in Akram Khan's Giselle during the Chicago tour © Kyle Flubacker.

March 2019

The filmed version is released on DVD and Blu-ray, and broadcast on BBC4 on 31 March.

27 June 2019

The Company makes its first visit to Luxembourg presented at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

English National Ballet during the Luxembourg tour of Akram Khan's Giselle © Photography by ASH.

July 2019

The Company performs Akram Khan’s Giselle at the prestigious Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, as part of the Chekov International Theatre Festival.

Autumn 2019

English National Ballet opens its 70th Anniversary season with a further sold-out revival at Sadler’s Wells in September 2019.

November 2020

Giselle becomes available to rent and watch around the world, via English National Ballet’s new online platform, Ballet on Demand.

Stina Quagebeur and Jeffrey Cirio in Akram Khan's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo.


International invitations see English National Ballet take the production to the Liceu in Barcelona in May 2022: the Spanish-language newspaper ABC, in its 5-star review, called it “a Giselle that brings down walls”.

The Company also returns to New York for the first time in over 30 years, with performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in June 2022.

In October, the piece receives its French premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. The performance on Friday 14 October is the 100th performance of the production since its premiere in 2016 in Manchester: it is also the last ever performance by Tamara Rojo and Stina Quagebeur (the original Myrtha).

February 2023

The production premieres in its 10th country – Austria, with performances at the Festspielhaus in St. Pölten.

Autumn 2023

Akram Khan’s Giselle returns to the UK for the first time since 2019, with performances in at the Palace Theatre in Manchester and the Bristol Hippodrome. Both venues were part of the show’s inaugural tour in 2016.

Take a look at just some of the audience reactions we’ve received over the years. Thanks to everyone who has come to see this incredible production throughout its journey. We hope there are many more years and performances left to come!