Image: Laurretta Summerscales as Giselle in Mary Skeaping's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

Following our season at the London Coliseum in January, Mary Skeaping’s classical Giselle is touring to Belfast this month. Hear from Tamara Rojo, Alina Cojocaru and Laurretta Summerscales, on dancing this iconic ballet and role, and who the character of Giselle is for them:

Lead Principal Alina Cojocaru:

“I used to think of Giselle as being quite a naive girl; shy, falling in love… but actually when you start to look at her situation, she’s only with her mother, she has no father, so obviously there must have been some drama and some sadness and some loss in her life… yet she’s happy.

Alina Cojocaru in Mary Skeaping's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

It makes her someone who chooses to be happy, to see beauty around her. Why does the whole town come to celebrate with her? There must be something in Giselle that makes everybody happy.

Alina Cojocaru and Jane Haworth in Mary Skeaping's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

In Act II, her spirit cannot be broken by the Wilis, she cannot become like them, she doesn’t have that hate towards Albrecht for what he’s done to her. She only has that belief in goodness, in light and also love.

She sees no other way than to save him, than to make sure that he survives and lives a happy life because she wants that for him. That’s what she wanted all along because in Act I, regardless of what happened, she was happy, she was fulfilled, she felt loved and she gave love.”

Principal Laurretta Summerscales:

“I see Giselle as a very vulnerable character who has a lot of love and a lot of life to give. She’s very young, she’s vibrant, innocent, but her body stops her from doing as much as she would like. Yet she’s a little bit mischievous.

Laurretta Summerscales as Giselle and Xander Parish as Albrecht in Mary Skeaping's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

In Act II, she’s a ghost, a spirit. Her purity is still there but the forgiveness is more of a weight, when Act I is a lot lighter because she’s in love, she’s free. She forgives Albrecht because she would rather have loved and have lost than not to have loved at all.”

Laurretta Summerscales as Giselle in Mary Skeaping's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

Artistic Director and Lead Principal Tamara Rojo:

“Each person has to choose their own Giselle, but it has to come from a reflective choice. You could choose the option of making a very naive, simple Giselle, but if that’s your option, I need to believe it, and if you as a person are not naive, I’m going to find it very difficult to see the truth.

Laurretta Summerscales as Giselle in Mary Skeaping's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

With Giselle, you can take the journey as far as you want. You can make it very naive until the second act or you can be a more wandering spirit… a person who chooses to only see what she chooses to see: that Albrecht is in love with her – despite the evidence in front of her. Deep down she knows, and that’s a huge difference.

English National Ballet in Mary Skeaping's Giselle © Laurent Liotardo

Once you’ve made that choice of who Giselle is, it has to influence everything you do throughout the ballet. It is beautiful to test yourself in rehearsal and ask: how far can I take this? Could she even be as cynical as Albrecht, and he the victim of a girl who wanted to hunt another man?  How far can you take it before it’s no longer Giselle?”

Don’t miss this classic production of one of the most iconic ballets when Giselle heads to Belfast, making the Company’s first time performing in Northern Ireland. More info and booking here.

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