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Hailed as ‘a masterpiece of 21st century dance’ from English National Ballet, Akram Khan’s Giselle comes to cinemas for the first time in 2018, giving ballet fans the opportunity to see this award-winning production in glorious high definition on the big screen. One of the greatest romantic ballets, Giselle has been re-imagined by celebrated choreographer Akram Khan with Artistic Director and Lead Principal of English National Ballet, Tamara Rojo, dancing the role of Giselle, one of a community of migrant workers cast out of their jobs in a condemned garment factory.
With staging and costumes by Academy Award-winning Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), the ballet has won an Olivier Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for English National Ballet, received rapturous 5-star reviews and was sold out when performed at London’s Sadler’s Wells. Filmed live at the Liverpool Empire in October 2017, Akram Khan’s Giselle is directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon. Co-produced by Manchester International Festival and Sadler’s Wells. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Read more on the Festival blog here.
Tamara Rojo (Giselle)
Spanish born dancer Tamara Rojo is Artistic Director of English National Ballet and a former Principal of The Royal Ballet. She joined the Company as a Principal in 2000 and in summer 2012 left to take up her position at ENB, where she also continues to dance as lead principal.
Rojo trained in Madrid at the Victor Ullate School and graduated into Ballet Victor Ullate. In 1996 she was invited to join Scottish Ballet and the next year moved to ENB, where within six months she was promoted to principal. She has performed all the classical roles and has won many awards.
Rojo often participates on the juries of all the major international dance competitions, including Beijing, Lausanne and Benois. She is a Master of Theatrical Arts and a Bachelor of Dance and Choreography Honours Graduate from the University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid. She was made a CBE in 2016.
James Streeter (Albrecht)
James Streeter is a soloist at the English National Ballet and has been dancing since he was five years old. His career highlights include Tybalt in Derek Deane’s Romeo & Juliet in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall (which is his favourite role), Rothbart in Swan Lake (both in-the-round and proscenium arch productions) and in Akram Khan’s Dust partnering with Tamara Rojo and Erina Takahashi at the Barbican and on the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury.
Jeffrey Cirio (Hilarion)
Jeffrey Cirio started his ballet training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and went on to train at Boston Ballet. He has won numerous ballet competitions worldwide, including a gold medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. He was also awarded the coveted Princess Grace Award. Cirio joined Boston Ballet in 2009, becoming a principal dancer in 2012. He has performed numerous classical, neo-classical and contemporary roles for Boston Ballet and worldwide in galas with Stars of American Ballet, at Vail International Dance Festival, and with United Ballet Company in Mongolia and Japan. Cirio joined American Ballet Theatre in 2015 as a soloist and was promoted to to Principal Dancer in August 2016.
Cirio’s latest efforts have been in the area of choreography. He was commissioned to create two pieces for Boston Ballet and has also created pieces for Ballet Academy East and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
Stina Quagebeur (Myrtha, Queen of the Willis)
Born in Belgium in 1985 Stina started dancing and was choreographing by the time she was 7. Although classical ballet is what she wanted to do she was often taken to see works by Mats Ek and Bèjart in Brussels. Those performances had a huge impact on her and gave her the inspiration to start choreographing. At the age of 11 she came to England to study at the Royal Ballet School where she won several prizes with her pieces at the annual Choreographic competition. She continued her training at the English National Ballet School and then subsequently joined the company by the time she was 18. She became First Artist with the ENB in 2016.
Stina’s career highlights include the opening night of Akram Khan’s Dust at the Barbican Theatre and the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated at Sadler’s Wells
Alongside her dancing career choreography plays an important part of Stina’s professional life. She was awarded and selected to go to New York by the Breaking Glass Project with her work Vera. She has created various new works for the Company including the annual fundraising gala at The Dorchester in March 2016
Akram Khan (Direction & Choreography)
Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In just over fifteen years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as Until the Lions, DESH, iTMOi, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees.
An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.
Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic. Described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”, a recent highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.
Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award), the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, the Herald Archangel Award at the Edinburgh International Festival, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and six Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.
Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of University of London and Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.
Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells (London) and Curve (Leicester).
Tim Yip (Visual & Costume Design)
A renowned artist, Tim Yip has multidisciplinary works in costume and art direction, and visual and contemporary art. For his work in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Tim won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction and the British Academy Film Award for Best Costume Designer in 2001.
Tim graduated from Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a degree in Photography. Since working on his first film A Better Tomorrow directed by John Woo in 1986, he has accomplished costume design and art direction for many film and theatrical performances over the past three decades.
Tim has collaborated with many film directors of international acclaim including John Woo, Ang Lee, Tsai Ming Liang, Tian Zhuangzhuang and Li Shaohong. He has also worked with renowned Taiwanese theatrical groups around the world, such as Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Contemporary Legend Theatre, Han Tang Yue-fu Dance Ensemble and others, with performances that toured China, Austria, France, USA, the UK and Singapore.
His striking costume design and art direction for the theatre production Medea, television drama Oranges Turn Ripe, feature films Temptation of a Monk and Double Vision have further attracted worldwide attention to his work.
In 2010, Tim collaborated with internationally acclaimed theater director Robert Wilson on 1433: The Grand Voyage.
Since 2002, Tim has introduced his theory of a ‘New Oriental’ aesthetic, conveying his interpretation of oriental art to western audiences. His work across media has received exhibitions including Faces of Time at the Taiwan National Palace Museum and Bourges Maison de la Culture.
In photography and video, Tim has received exhibitions in Spain – Gijon with an Eastern Glance, China, the Arles International Photo Festival, and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
In 2004, Tim Yip was the art and costume director for the Beijing handover performance at the Olympic Games closing ceremony in Athens.
In recent years, he has held various solo art exhibitions in New York, Beijing and Shanghai.
In 2005, he was invited by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to participate in the China Red Exhibition; he also participated in the International Asian Art Fair held at The Park Avenue Armory, New York. The Beijing Today Art Museum organised his solo art exhibition Illusions of Silence in late 2007.
In 2008, he was invited to participate in Christian Dior’s 60th anniversary exhibition – Dior and Chinese Artists – his work, Floating Leaves Garden, re-opened the dialogue between fashion and art as well as successfully drawing global attention towards Chinese tradition.
In 2009, his art on location installation was exhibited at the prestigious Yin Tai Center in Beijing. Tim has several publications including Lost in Time, Flower of the Wind, Floating, Circulation, Rouge: L’art de Tim Yip (published in both French and English), Illusions of Silence and Passage.
In February 2016, Tim’s largest and most comprehensive retrospective exhibition in Europe to date – In Parallel – will open at the Maison de la Culture d’Amiens, in Amiens, France.
Vincenzon Lamagna (Music, after the original score by Adolphe Adam)
Vincenzo Lamagna is a musician, composer, and producer. Born and raised in Naples, he has lived in London since 2008.
His work pushes the boundaries of conventional music, combining raging guitar driven rock with minimalistic ambient soundscapes, fierce pulsing drumming, and elements of classical music.
He has worked with artists including Mysteries of the Revolution, Twisted Tongues, Sean O’Brien, Esther Dee, and Reena Green. He has also recorded two albums with his band After They Left (After They Left, Little Sheep). He recently finished recording his sixth solo album. Solo discography includes The World At The End Of The World, Ki, A Thousand Shepherds, Requiem, Until The Lions (yet to be released), Kingdom (yet to be released).
Vincenzo works extensively creating sounds for contemporary dance. He joined Hofesh Schechter Company in 2010 and toured Political Mother worldwide until 2014, playing in venues including Sydney Opera House, Théâtre de la Ville, Sadler’s Wells, La Villette, and HKCC. He also played guitar on Sun.
He began collaborating with Akram Khan in 2014, writing music for The Rashomon Effect (National Youth Dance Company). He composed and sound designed One Side To The Other (The Lowry), and composed the score for Until The Lions, a full length piece that premiered at the Roundhouse London in January 2016, and will tour worldwide until December 2018.
Additional collaborations include Scottish Dance Theatre, Phoenix Dance Theatre, ACE Dance and Music, Beijing Contemporary NINE Dance Theatre, Carlos Acosta, John Ross, and Jose Agudo.
Vincenzo is currently co-directing and scoring a new experimental dance piece called Through & Out with choreographer Jorge Crecis, which began an underground tour in October 2016.
Mark Henderson (Lighting Design)
For over 30 years, Mark Henderson has designed extensively for all the major theatre, dance and opera companies in the UK and has lit over 70 West End Productions.
He was the recipient of the 1992, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2010 and 2016 Laurence Olivier Award for Lighting Design. In 2006, he won a Tony Award for The History Boys on Broadway, and in 2013 he won the WhatOnStage lighting design award for Sweeney Todd. Mark also won a Welsh BAFTA in 2000 for his work on the televised opening of the Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
His work in the West End and on Broadway include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Iceman Cometh, The Judas Kiss, Copenhagen, Democracy, Hamlet, The History Boys, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Les Parents Terribles, The Real Thing, Rowan Atkinson in Revue, Enron, One Man Two Guvnors.
In the West End: The Bodyguard, The Sound of Music, Marguerite, Grease is the Word, Amy’s View, Our House, Up for Grabs, On An Average Day, Tonight’s the Night, West Side Story, Spend Spend Spend, Neville’s Island, Follies, Mutiny, Passion, A Few Good Men, As You Desire Me, All My Sons, When We Are Married, Hay Fever, The King’s Speech, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Sweeney Todd, Private Lives, Gypsy, Sunset Boulevard, Funny Girl.
Other productions include Before The Dawn-Kate Bush, Sunset Boulevard, French and Saunders Live, Eddie Izzard, Peter Pan.
His work in opera and dance includes productions for The Met Opera (Don Carlos), English National Opera (The Flying Dutchman, Child of Our Time, On The Town, Silver Tassie), The Royal Opera (Don Carlos, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Sophies Choice, The Flying Dutchman), Welsh National Opera (Tosca, Eugene Onegin), Opera North (Nabucco, Prince Igor, La Boheme, Madame Butterfly), Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Don Giovanni, The Fairy Queen, Hyppolyte et Aridice, The Turn of the Screw), Hong Kong Festival (Macbeth), The Royal Ballet (Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Planets, The Judas Tree), Rambert Dance Company (The Secret Charm of Mother Nature, Castaways), London Contemporary Dance Theatre (Agora, Canso Trobar)
Mark has also worked on “Showtime at the Stadium” at the Millennium Stadium Cardiff for the BBC, the Royal Gala opening of the Millenniun Centre Cardiff (BBC), the Amnesty benefit concert at Wembley Arena (Channel 4), the concert of the music from Dr.Who (BBC), Oedipus Plays for the National Theatre at the Epidaurus Amphitheatre in Greece.
Mark was an Associate at the Royal National Theatre in London and was Lighting Adviser to the Almeida Theatre.
Ruth Little (Dramaturgy)
Ruth Little is a theatre and dance dramaturg, a teacher and writer. She lectured in English literature at the University of Sydney, and was literary manager at Out of Joint, Soho Theatre, the Young Vic and the Royal Court.
She is dramaturg with Akram Khan Company (Until the Lions, Gnosis, Vertical Road, Desh, iTMOi) and collaborated with English National Ballet for Dust, part of Lest We Forget. She has also worked with Sadler’s Wells, Spitalfields Festival, Barbican, National Theatre Connections, Fuel, Theatre Forum Dublin, Siobhan Davies Dance, Le Patin Libre.
Training at the University of Sydney; Cambridge University
Winner of 2012 Kenneth Tynan Award for Dramaturgy
Ruth is also currently Associate Director at Cape Farewell; Guest Editor at Dance Umbrella’s ‘Definite Article’, 2015; dramaturg of 1984 (Jonathan Watkins: Northern Ballet).
Her publications include The Young Vic Book; The Royal Court Theatre Inside Out; The Slow Art of Contemporary Expedition: Islandings and Art, Place, Climate: Situated Ethics.
“English National Ballet dance this Giselle with total conviction, from Rojo’s stubborn heroine to the driven, driving corps de ballet.” The Independent
“Giselle has been transformed for the ENB by Akram Khan into the ballet event of the year. Staggeringly beautiful and utterly devastating, it is an electrifying triumph which any dance or theatre fan must not miss” – The Daily Express
“Akram Khan’s stunning re-imagining is destined to become a contemporary classic.” – The Stage
“Khan’s choreography has never looked better. Working with such finely tuned ballet dancers has given his movement more uplift.” The Times
“This is an epic Giselle, and a triumph.” – Evening Standard
“The whole ballet is magnificently danced and it is…a gift for ENB” – The Guardian
“The ballet is a beautiful and intelligent remaking of the beloved classic” – New York Times
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