Reviews of Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Reviews of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in ‘Giselle.’
The Woodinville Weekly
Yet, to my eyes, much of the dancing was tentative, with notable exceptions: Carrie Imler, Jonathan Porretta. Porretta performed with such insouciance that it seemed like he could have been gripping a pipe between his grinning teeth as he guided Chalnessa Eames through her pirouettes. (In fairness to the rest, Porretta did have the luxury of “just” dancing–his part as a peasant dancer on opening night didn’t require any heights of characterization.)
The fine PNB dancers seemed not to have the choreography living in them yet, so they concentrated on performing the steps rather than their emotional expression. Even the orchestra led by Emil de Cou seemed less sure-footed when it came to tempi. In sum, there was much that was pretty (especially in Peter Farmer’s scenic and costume designs) and lowercase romantic, but not much truly Romantic, or as emotionally resonant, as you might hope.
PNB’s staging also incorporates several elaborate mime sequences, which were an integral part of the original production and used as storytelling devices. In this timeless and moving tale, Giselle, a young, innocent peasant girl, falls for a philandering prince named Albrecht. When she learns of his deception, she goes mad and succumbs to an early death of a broken heart. She comes back as a Wili, a member of a sisterhood of spirits, all would-be-brides doomed to dance men to death in the forest at night. When her lover appears, she defies her supernatural orders and saves him from his cruel fate.