Director’s Notebook: Giselle

Peter Boal. Photo © Angela Sterling.

Dear Friends,

We are all excited for the premiere of Giselle tomorrow night after almost a year’s worth of preparation. This is a first for PNB. There are four casts of principals and each cast bring something unique to their interpretation. I hope you are able to see at least one performance. Here are a few facts you may not know:

If you are feeling like you’re surrounded by critics in the audience it’s because you are. The national Dance Critics Association annual conference is taking place in Seattle during the run of Giselle. The theme of this year’s conference is reconstruction through notation. There are 40-some critics attending. Gulp.

In the Henri Justamant notation that we are using, 45 people enter as part of the hunting party, complete with 6 falconers and 8 horn blowers. PNB’s hunting party of 11 is a little bit smaller. We do have two dead birds, though.

Throughout Giselle, white flowers feature prominently, with daisies in Act I and myrtle, verbena, lilies and roses in Act II. Myrtle, seen on the dresses of the wilis, is traditionally part of wedding bouquets and also common in funerals. Kate Middleton carried myrtle in her bouquet during the royal wedding.

Batkhurel Bold’s father was a noted Hilarion in his dancing days in Mongolia.

PNB’s Executive Director D. David Brown is a former Albrecht. (There are pictures.) He performed the role opposite his wife Elaine Bauer, who has been instrumental in coaching our current Giselles and Albrechts.

Otto Neubert plays the Prince of Courland. He’s about 6’2” and the entrance to Giselle’s house is not, which is why Otto smashed his head on the doorframe in rehearsal. He actually went right down to the floor, but I suspect it was the embarrassment that hurt the most.

We’re not just working on Giselle these days, with an incredible Season Encore Performance happening on Sunday June 12th, and School Performance on the 18th, with Next Step that evening. The Encore is really not to be missed. The evening promises to be an emotional, joyous tribute to eight of our dancers. We are so grateful for what each of them has brought to PNB and letting them know how appreciative we are is what the evening is all about. See you there!

Peter Boal, Artistic Director
Pacific Northwest Ballet

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