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Herald staff | tgoffredo@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, June 6, 2011, 9:34 a.m.

'Giselle' is lush and lovely

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carla Körbes as Giselle, and Karel Cruz as Albrecht, in PNB's world premiere staging of Giselle.

    Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Carla Körbes as Giselle, and Karel Cruz as Albrecht, in PNB's world premiere staging of Giselle.

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers as the ghostly Wilis in PNB's world premiere staging of Giselle.

    Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers as the ghostly Wilis in PNB's world premiere staging of Giselle.

Pacific Northwest Ballet's ambitious production of "Giselle" is lush and lovely.

PNB chose to refer to original source materials from the mid-19th century to create the staging for this classic ballet. The dancers use mime taken from the time period to convey much of the narrative. The movements are fast and most of the dance movements are in the lower body.

PNB's "Giselle" comes off like a splendidly restored film from the silent era, only in full technicolor.

Dance critics from around the country are coming to Seattle to weigh in and cast their votes on how well PNB pulled off this challenge. I attended the opening performance on Friday night. This is my first "Giselle," so I can't compare. I can say I found this story-form ballet more to my taste than the syrupy sweetness of "Cinderella."

The story has enough wonder to engage children, enough emotion to break your heart and plenty of top-notch dancing.

One could easily imagine the ballet's 1841 premier in Paris captivating audiences then the way contemporary films like "Avatar" do today. "Giselle" takes place in a far off world and PNB's cast helps make the journey a delight.

While it may be hard to relate to the class differences and ghostly worlds depicted in the complex story, it is easy to take in the spectacle and fine performances.

Carla Korbes was spunky, adorable and heartbreaking in the lead role. Karel Cruz is handsome and fits as Duke Albrecht, while Batkhurel Bold's emotions filled McCaw Hall as Hilarion, the love-spurned game keeper.

"Giselle" runs through June 12.

Let us know what you think of "Giselle." Post a comment below.

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