The standing ovation at the end of America Ballet Theatre’s Giselle at The Kennedy Center last night does not do the performance justice. The combination of ingredients – exquisite dancing, expert staging, elegant costume and sets – is a recipe that Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie has mastered.
Granted, he has some of the world’s best talent at his fingertips, but that in itself does not guarantee success. McKenzie’s staging of Giselle, the epitome of romantic classical ballet, is based on the original choreography by Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, and Marius Petipa. The nuances of gesture and choreographic expression though are what make this particular production rise above the average and elevate it to the level by which America’s National Ballet Company® is revered for. Anna Anni’s costumes so cohesively compliment Gianna Quaranta’s scenery; Giselle’s blue and Bathilde’s scarlet dresses appropriately standing out amongst an otherwise autumnal-hued first act, and the second act Wilis in their white tutus creating the desired ethereal effect in the somber forest.