TRAILBLAZING choreographer Akram Khan thrillingly seizes the chance to reconfigure traditional dance in this Giselle for English National Ballet.
A groundbreaking and emotionally overwhelming version of the classical ballet, it relocates the dark story of love, betrayal and forgiveness beneath and beyond a factory wall, with Khan’s narrative taking a swing at the grotesque affectations of an adorned class of bourgeois feeding off the servitude they suck out a powerless class.
There are duets to die for in the signature moments, where Tamara Rojo’s Giselle and James Streeter’s Albrecht embody the rapture of love’s joy and then, terrifyingly, its asphyxiated deathly end.
Rojo, relentlessly thrilling throughout, combines the grace of classical technique with a contemporary expressiveness in an uncompromisingly physical performance and, with Stina Quagebeur as Myrha, performs continuously on pointe for a breathtakingly lengthy, melancholic sequence.
With performances from the company ignited by Vincenzo Lamagna’s beautiful adaptation of Adolphe Adam’s score, Gavin Sutherland’s memorable orchestration and Rojo’s brilliance, the blend of irresistible forces are as unexpected as they are emotionally draining — joyous in one second, tear-jerking the next.