REVIEW: Bolshoi Theater Live: Giselle

As always, I really enjoy live screenings of real theater performances, because of the quality of the show combined with the cheap tickets for a great experience! This show in particular was a rendition of the classical ballet Giselle, and it incorporated the choreography of several different productions in the past into one cohesive performance. As a huge fan (and admirer) of ballet, I most enjoyed the group dances, the costumes, and the storytelling.

With the advantage of watching through a screen, we got to see all of the best angles of the actors and formations. This was particularly cool when there was a large group of ballerinas dancing on stage together, doing identical movements. The camera showed more of a bird’s eye view, and the precision of the group moving together was absolutely breathtaking. It always blows my mind how precise ballet is, and how they can all be so perfectly together with every move, so that not even one girl stands out as a better dancer than the one next to her. And from above, it was even more impressive to see them moving as if they were a single unit being operated in an almost inhuman way. I love the movements of ballet in general, because they are so graceful and so smooth. It always impresses me when ballerinas go on pointe, as I have had friends lament to me how difficult that is. I also admired the pairs dancing, as the movements of two people together were so in sync. The lifts and twirls that can only be done when a couple dances together were so beautiful.

The costumes were also gorgeous, with only simple alterations to show which members were principal dancers (the main roles). Most of them were simple, except for the costumes of the royal family and their court, which were lavish and glittery. They were 19th century style, and it was gorgeous to see all of the colors. I particularly liked the costumes in the second act of the vengeful spirit women, which were basically plain white shifts with some adornment on the bodice and sleeves, and tulle skirts. It felt very classic ballet to me, and made the movements more beautiful as the dancers kicked up their skirts in unison. The principal dancer for the group also had flowers running down from the chest to the skirt, and Giselle had a shinier version of the top and her skirt had a bit more tulle to differentiate. I loved the way the bodice was fitted but the sleeves sort of fell off the shoulders and were not holding up the dress. I wish they sold them to the public! Although I’m not sure what I would wear it for.

The way the dance incorporated the storytelling also was an impressive part of the show. I really liked the way the same gestures were used at different moments to help the audience understand the important plot points. These gestures were also, at times, part of the dancing, and it was very cool to see them both on their own and included in the choreography.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this ballet experience. It wasn’t a standout as an amazing performance over others that I have seen, but I appreciated the simplicity of Giselle, and I was very impressed by the skill of the dancers.

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