Giselle, Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh Festival
Wednesday 13 August 2008
In Giselle, Nina Ananiashvili's dancing is both powerful and ethereal. As her springy jump takes her high above the stage, the open ease of her torso gives her a weightless quality in the air. Her long arms drift as if carried on a breeze, hands floating from softly held wrists. Every movement flows.
The State Ballet of Georgia, which is making its Festival debut, has a repertory of classics, Russian and Western material, with a Georgian flavour to some of the new work. Ananiashvili's own example is clear in the company style. There's a long-limbed reach to the dancing, the corps showing strict attention to footwork. Jumps are high, if occasionally untidy.
Yet this Giselle takes time to warm up. Alexei Fadeyechev's production of the 1841 classic is straightforward enough, but Viacheslav Okunev's sets are clumsy, while Paul Vidar Saevarang's lighting is murky. The Playhouse, a grim barn of a theatre, does nothing for the atmosphere. The first act suffers most, though Ananiashvili makes a lively heroine. At 45, she has a youthful freshness. Vasil Akhmeteli plays the faithless hero Albrecht. His acting lacks subtlety, but he's a robust dancer and secure partner. The lights are dimmer still in the ghostly second act, but performances brighten. Lali Kandelaki could be more imperious as Myrta, queen of the avenging spirits, but her dancing is clean and light.
Some productions bring the ghostly Giselle on with a special effect, but here Ananiashvili simply steps on stage with such crisp precision that it appears magical. When she raises her arms, in a single long phrase, she seems to draw power up from the earth, breath by breath.
Ends today (0131-473 2000)
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove