BWW Reviews: American Ballet Theatre Presents GISELLE
I was privileged to see American Ballet Theatre performing Giselle twice this season.
On June 19th, Giselle was well danced and acted by Xiomara Reyes. Her innocent, sweet portrayal of Giselle in the first act was believable, inhabiting the character of this young peasant woman driven to her death by the deceit of Albrecht, her supposed peasant lover who is really a prince. In the second act, now as a roaming night spirit of the dead, we could feel her love mature as she fervently danced to save Albrecht from his death.
It is always a pleasure to experience this ballerina in the roles, since she never seems to over-work her technique or her acting ability to bring the character to life. The audience is carried along by Giselle and her prince, JarEd Matthews, who danced better and more convincingly than I have seen him to date. Matthews' charming arrogance in the first act and elegant remorse in the second, coupled with his technique and good looks, kept the audience on the side of Albrecht. Patrick Ogle, who danced Hilarion, gave a strong performance that is not always achieved by dancers of this role. Myrta was danced by Amy Watson, an exchange artist from The Royal Danish Ballet. Watson's dancing was somewhat choppy. While she had the character of the unbending, bitter Queen of the Wilis, her movements appeared staccato at times. This did not detract, however, from the overall mystical impression of the second act.
At the June 21st matinee, Hee Seo danced Giselle, partnered by Alexandre Hammoudi. Seo, who I first noticed in this role before she was made principal, is even more beautiful now. Her first act was a lovely blend of suppleness and youthful emotion; her second act was ethereal, bringing the audience with her into the realm of the spirits. The handsome Hammoudi, in his first performance after an injury, shows promise. I would like to see him strengthen his back and center, which could take him from his present look of humble poet to prince. Thomas Forster as Hilarion was a strong presence. Devon Teuscher, as Myrta, was commanding and hard, while fluid at the same time.
In both performances, the Peasant Pas de Deux was performed by the exuberant Misty Copeland, partnered by Blaine Hoven. Copeland brought joy and energy to the harvest festival, a break from the main story line. I would be happy to see her dance the principal role of Giselle.
All in all this ballet was a success, which can be welcomed in every ballet season.
Photo credit: Gene Schiavone