American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is proud to present Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborgs internationally acclaimed production of Giselle. Originally created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet under Stiefels artistic leadership in 2012, Giselle has been restaged and partially redesigned specifically for ARB by the award-winning team of Howard Jones (scenic designer), Natalia Stewart (costume designer), and Joseph R. Walls (lighting designer). Giselle will be performed at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) March 3-5, 2023.
This production of Giselle from Stiefel and Kobborg has been celebrated for its imaginative and skillful retelling of the classic story. Act I features reinvigorated group dances, more substantial dancing from Hilarion, and a Wedding Couple that drive the narrative with pace and excitement. In the ballet’s iconic Act II, Giselle dances among the ghosts of women who too have died after being betrayed by their lovers, but in Stiefel and Kobborg’s re-imagining, the fragility of these otherworldly women, known as Wilis, are characterized by a unique and determinable strength. Giselle’s love, Albrecht, is depicted as untraditionally remorseful.
“Giselle was so meaningful to both Johan and me as performers during our careers. Excited by the opportunity to honor the legacy of Giselle and to retain the essence of a beloved work that has been iconic for almost two centuries, we have also sought to inject some new pace into the story-telling and to augment the dancing, story, and characters. We had a clear and unified vision of what we wanted to achieve and feel that this production strikes an elegant balance of shedding new light on the classic, yet maintaining what has made Giselle so special for so long,” explains Ethan Stiefel, ARB Artistic Director.
Johan Kobborg, a veteran of the Royal Danish Ballet and London’s Royal Ballet, says of this collaboration, “I am looking very much forward to revisiting, reworking, and tailoring our Giselle production for ARB. Creating Giselle with Ethan Stiefel in 2012 is to this day one of my career’s creative highlights. Collaborating on the unique task of creating and bringing to life a joint artistic vision and choreographic language proved a wonderfully rare and inspiring process and one that I look forward to further developing on the wonderful dancers of ARB.”
The Stiefel and Kobborg production was the subject of Toa Frasers 2013 feature film and was selected for screening in the NZ International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival.
One of the most romantic story ballets of all time, Giselle illustrates the strength of love, the devastation of betrayal, and the power of forgiveness. Giselle will be on stage at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 3 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, March 4 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, and Sunday, March 5 at 2:00 pm. Tickets start at $25. For tickets, please visit arballet.org
American Repertory Ballets Giselle is made possible by a generous Leading Underwriter gift from The Ted Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund. Additional production support comes from Leading Sponsor Nora C. Orphanides.