Love, longing, betrayal and redemption: all these and more have kept Giselle in active repertory for more than 150 years. Since 1841, when Giselle first appeared on the stage productions across the world. New Jersey Ballet’s splendid production made The Star-Ledger’s Top Ten List when it debuted in 2003, and The Asbury Park Press wrote that it “stylishly presents one of dance’s most important works.” Giselle is one of the most popular ballets in the classical repertory, and its leading role is among the most sought-after in ballet.
Music by Adolphe Adam
Choreography after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
Sets by Theatre Ballet, Inc.
Costumes by Theatre Ballet, Inc., A. Christina Giannini, Kitty Bensky
The Story of Giselle
Giselle, a timeless tale of love stronger than death, opens in a medieval village. The local gamekeeper, Hilarion, is in love with Giselle, but she is not ready to wed. Duke Albrecht, disguised as a peasant, comes to court Giselle. Uncertain, Giselle plucks the petals from a daisy ending with “he loves me not,” but Albrecht vows his love is true. Hilarion enters the scene and swears his love for Giselle. Giselle scorns the gamekeeper and Albrecht chases him away. The villagers arrive and there is music and dancing.
As the celebration continues, a Prince and his daughter stop in the village. Giselle dances for the Princess and is rewarded with a necklace. Unbeknownst to Giselle, the Princess is already betrothed to Albrecht. A jealous Hilarion unmasks Albrecht, and Giselle is devastated. She goes out of her mind, and falls dead of a broken heart.
Act II takes place beside Giselle's grave in the woods, near a lake. Hilarion comes to lay a wreath at the grave. Myrtha, the Queen of the Wilis, appears and calls the wilis – brides who were jilted before their weddings — from their graves. The wilis surround Hilarion and force him to dance until he dies of exhaustion and is thrown into the lake.
Albrecht arrives and is about to face the same fate when Giselle steps between him and the Queen. Giselle pleads in vain for mercy while Albrecht dances. Sustained by Giselle's love, he continues until the first light of dawn sends the wilis back to their graves, leaving him exhausted but alive, forever to treasure the memory of Giselle’s enduring love.
About New Jersey Ballet:
For more than half a century, New Jersey Ballet has thrilled audiences from Bergen to Cape May with top quality professional ballet and has given hundreds of thousands of adults and children their first introduction to ballet and inspired in many a lifelong love of the arts
The founding of New Jersey Ballet created a profound change in the cultural landscape of New Jersey. Over the years, New Jersey Ballet has brought the magic of dance theatre to countless students, little children, senior citizens and adults of all ages. During its 26 week season, New Jersey Ballet performs a variety of works from classical, contemporary and jazz ballet at 10 venues throughout the state, and has toured nationally and around the world.
The repertory includes works choreographed by some of the greatest names in the world of dance: Balanchine, deMille, Tudor, Nebrada, North, Pourfarrokh, Taras, Sappington, Renvall, Tomal, Vernon, Vesak, Petipa, Chabukiany, Saint Leon and Bournonville. The company's artistic advisors include 3 of the greatest international dancers of the 20th century; Edward Villella, Eleanor D'Antuono and Leonid Kozlov, who coach the dancers in repertory they themselves danced at New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi.
New Jersey Ballet is proud to be designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 2009 and 2010, the company was voted New Jersey's Favorite Dance Company in an online poll sponsored by Jersey Arts Marketers.
Barbara Gilford, dance writer for The New York Times New Jersey Weekly for more than ten years, wrote this about the impact and value New Jersey Ballet has for New Jersey.
“New Jersey Ballet Company is the ONLY dance organization in the New York metropolitan area that takes high quality programming and performances to urban, rural and suburban communities throughout New Jersey (and at a cost that is “affordable” in comparison with the major organizations in New York City who are at home at Lincoln Center). Residents of our state have access to a three hundred year-old dance tradition, frequently on their doorsteps. New Jersey Ballet is an assemblage of professional dancers who embody the highest standards of technique and artistry and they are OURS!!!”