A Giselle viewed through the
lens of Spanish romanticism and inspired by the poems of Gustavo
“In 1841, the Ópera de París held the premier of the ballet
Giselle, in which the poet Théophile Gautier is inspired by the
German legends of Heinrich Heine, creating romantic myths that
would come to mark the history of dance: innocent peasant girls in
love, grape harvest fiestas, handsome seductive princes,
apparitions of the ghostly spirits of the woods …
The previous year, Gautier had visited Spain. Subsequently, his
book, Le voyage en Espagne, spurred the romantic fashion among
European travellers to experience the country, its society sets and
traditions and its folkloric dances.
In 1863, the Spanish poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer retired to the
Veruela Monastery, in the Moncayo mountains and, there, surrounded
by woodland and nature, he wrote his rhymes of forlorn love and
legends of sad fates.
For this new version offered by the Compañía Nacional de Danza our
wish was to envisage a Giselle viewed through the lens of Spanish
romanticism: inspired by Bécquer’s poetry, we will dance the story
of this maiden in love with the handsome foreign traveller whom she
will love even beyond death.
Without dropping any of the elements that have placed this piece
among the summits of classical ballet, our Giselle also includes
Spanish traditions and the bolera school of dance. And in the
woods, inhabited by the Willis—those spirits of maidens who died
befote marriage—the wind’s voices whisper Bécquer’s verses.
The end of Giselle sees the forces of love and the forces of dance
beat both death and darkness. That is the hope that guides us
throughout the performance.”