Behind the Scenes of Giselle
Ballet Master Tristan Message coaches Brett Chynoweth and Natasha Kusen. Photography Daniel Boud

Behind the Scenes of Giselle

If you were at our Behind the Scenes of Giselle event this week – or you’re planning to go to a Behind the Scenes event in Sydney, Adelaide or Perth – here’s a series of fascinating facts to enhance your experience. 

Did you know? …

The combinations of steps that the teacher sets for the dancers in morning class is different each day. Although it looks like the dancers already know what the teachers is asking them to do, they are actually only hearing it for the first time. Their ability to instantly remember exercises is partly an inherent talent, partly the result of a lifetime’s practice. (more…)

20 March 2015

A ghostly dance with Bistro Vue
Jasmin Durham and Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

A ghostly dance with Bistro Vue

Red velvet, warm light, a Parisian lilt to the air … and two delicate winged ghosts floating through it all.

Jasmin Durham and Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Emma McFarlane and Jasmin Durham. Photography James Braund

This week, to celebrate the opening of our Giselle season, we took two of our wilis to Shannon Bennett’s French-accented Bistro Vue, where Executive Chef Chris Bonello has taken the ballet as inspiration and created us a bespoke dessert – Giselle’s Berries and Cream.

Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Our dancers Jasmin Durham and Emma McFarlane drifted around this sublime space while Chris plated up the dish and the chefs hummed snatches of Swan Lake (wrong ballet guys, but we love it anyway). Photographer James Braund was there to capture the magic … and the dancers had the most magnificent breakfast in town.

Giselle's Berries and Cream. Photography James Braund

Giselle’s Berries and Cream. Photography James Braund

The dish Chris has created uses chocolate-and-coffee soil to symbolise sorrow and the earth of the forest where Giselle is buried; fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries to denote passion and romance; mint-oil-infused maltodextrin, which vanishes magically on the tongue, to symbolise the ghosts of the woodlands; and the snowy tones of white chocolate caremelised ice cream and créme diplomat to evoke innocence and the afterlife. And yes, it’s heaven.

Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Jasmin Durham. Photography James Braund

Jasmin Durham. Photography James Braund

Jasmin Durham and Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Jasmin Durham and Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Want to try Giselle’s Berries and Cream for yourself? The dish will be available at Bistro Vue for the run of our Melbourne Giselle season, 13 – 23 March. The bar will serve you the dessert on its own; if you’d like to eat an entire meal at the restaurant, you’ll need to make a booking.

13 March 2015

Love beyond the grave
Zombie meets girl in Warm Bodies

Love beyond the grave

When Giselle dies of a broken heart, the story’s not by any means over. In Act II of Giselle, she and Albrecht deepen their love as never before – despite the fact that she’s a woodland wraith. So what is it with our fascination for “love beyond the grave” stories? Lorelei Vashti picks eight of the best. (more…)


Seven reasons to see The Dream
Joseph Janusaitis, Marilyn Rowe and Ross Stretton in Monotones II, 1975. Photography David Parker

Seven reasons to see The Dream

SHAKESPEARE EN POINTE
The Bard’s magical comedy, with its lovers and sprites, tiffs and crushes, is a natural for dance.

Vivien Leigh as Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Image via vam.ac.uk

Vivien Leigh as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Image via vam.ac.uk

(more…)

12 March 2015

Styling Giselle

Styling Giselle

Annie Carroll,  former dancer of The Australian Ballet, writer and fashionista, turns her eye to the costumes and characters of Giselle – and their haute couture equivalents.

Giselle, Act I
She’s the young peasant girl in daffodil yellow, oozing gamine beauty and embodying doomed optimism, that springs out of a thatched-roof house against the backdrop of an autumnal day in the Rhineland. Our heroine wears a prairie-style blouse and floral wreath. Skip forward several centuries and where would we find our Giselle searching for clothes? From Chloe’s Pre-Fall 2015  collection, of course. Abundant in rural gypsy Romanticism – think poet-sleeve blouses and Bianca Jagger in cheese-cloth and suede. (more…)

10 March 2015

Lisa Bolte on the mad scene
Lisa Bolte in the mad scene. Mariinsky Ballet, 1997. Photography V.Baranovsky

Lisa Bolte on the mad scene

Former Principal Artist Lisa Bolte danced Giselle all around the world; now she brings her artistry to the role of Giselle’s mother, Berthe, in our current Melbourne season. She talks to us about the ballet’s famous mad scene.

The mad scene is very satisfying to dance, it’s one of the most rewarding scenes in ballet. It’s a bit like the Mercutio death scene in Romeo and Juliet. The build-up is so perfect, from the first encounter with Albrecht, the building of the love, the betrayal – it all just feels so balanced, like there’s time for every piece of the mime.It’s quite difficult to work on, at first – to “go mad” in front of all your colleagues! So you need time to find realness in it, to find your own sense of why you would go mad from this heartbreak. The disbelief, the shock of the loss. (more…)

6 March 2015