BWW Review: GISELLE Opens at the Kauffman Center For Performing Arts

Eerie, enchanting, and hauntingly beautiful Giselle continues at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts through March 22. Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney choreographed the full-length two act classic ballet. Jean Corrali, Jules Perrot, and Marius Petipa inspired the choreography of Carney. Kansas City Ballet Music Director Ramona Pansegrau conducts the Kansas City Symphony with the enchanting music of Adolphe Adam.

Carney said, "Giselle is a one-of-a-kind production that is near and dear to me, having played all male roles including the lead, Albrecht. At age 173, this masterpiece is one of the oldest continually performed classics in the world of ballet. My approach to this work has been entirely about the preservation of style and artistic intent. Presenting the great classical works is a Kansas City Ballet Presents Giselle March 13-22 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts 2 key part of my artistic vision. It remains one of the most popular works of the dance canon for a reason: It is a love story full of endearing pas de deuxs, gorgeous and challenging solos, and one of the most renowned and ethereal corps de ballet scenes in the history dance. I am happy to have our company perform my interpretation of this classical favorite that is sure to please our audiences."

Giselle first was performed at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris, France on June 28, 1841. It is the story of a peasant girl (Giselle) who discovers the man who she loves is betrothed to another. The news causes her to suffer a fatal heart attack in the first act. Act II takes place in the cemetery where Giselle is interned and visited by the Wilis, who summon her from the grave. The Wilis are a group of supernatural women who intend to dance Giselle's lover to death. It is only through her love that he escapes his intended fate.

On Friday March 13, Molly Wagner dances the title role of Giselle, with Tempe Ostergren taking the part on March 14, 20, and 22. Wagner's movements were beautiful drawing extra meaning from the steps designed for her. In Act II, it appears she floats at the back of the stage, until she reaches a break in the stage decorations, when we discover she is crossing on her toes.

Liang Fu plays Albrecht, Duke of Silesia, alternating with Lamin Pereira. His dance is powerful and eager as he expresses his desire for Giselle. Logan Pachciarz plays Hilarion the village gamekeeper, who is in love with Giselle. His movements are natural drawing sympathy from the audience in his plight. Pachciarz shares the part with Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye.

The beautiful set design of the village and the ominous design of the graveyard add to the romantic and dramatic scenes. This classic is performed with stylized movements and is a wonderful addition to the 57th season of the Kansas City Ballet.

Purchase tickets at by calling 816-931-8993 or visit the Kansas City Ballet website. Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet.

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From This Author Steve Wilson