Akram Khan’s Giselle- A Revered Ballet Classic Reimagined (Part III)


Khan’s trademarks are evident- spectacular theatrical effects and choreography distinguished by its visceral energy and power, impressive use of group work and the exceptional use of hands that harks back to his training in classical Indian dance. A roller-coaster ride from start to finish, it leaves the audience breathless.

Khan has been insistent that the production maintain the essence of the original though. “It’s about love, betrayal and forgiveness, so it doesn’t matter if you call it Giselle or you call it something else – those three elements are the most powerful thing about Giselle.”

“It was so important to me to respect the original. With a work as sacred as Giselle … I realised you have to listen to it and open yourself up.”

Rojo explained her choice of unconventional choice of Khan to direct the much loved ballet to The Guardian newspaper, “Nobody bats an eyelash if they take Shakespeare and re-represent it. We must ask, ‘What are the human issues in a ballet and are they still relevant?’ And most of the time they are. That doesn’t mean we have to throw away the past or tradition, but we have to constantly look at it and allow it to breathe.”

Rojo’s gamble paid off. Khan’s visceral masterpiece has been hailed  as ‘a masterpiece of 21st century dance’. 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.

The KLIAF is honoured to bring the cinematic version of Akram Khan’s Giselle to Malaysia for the first time, in collaboration with KL DanceWorks. Filmed live at the Liverpool Empire in October 2017, the movie, directed by Ross Mc Gibbon, had his premiere in April 2018.

Part II of this post can be found at https://www.diversecity.my/2018/?p=489&preview=true

Akram Khan’s “Giselle” the Movie

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