“Giselle” at The Soraya

Luke Isley


The Best of the (ballet) West Comes to The Soraya in February! 

The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts continues their showcase of U.S. ballet companies with their next show – Ballet West’s beautifully traditional production of “Giselle.”

“Giselle” is one of the most beloved and enduring cornerstones of classical ballet. Ballet West’s sumptuous production is conceived by Adam Sklute, the company’s artistic director, with choreography by Sklute after Jean Coralli and Julles Perrot. It will have a single performance on Tuesday, February 4 at 8:00pm.

With a music score composed by Adolphe Adam, Ballet West’s “Giselle” is a lavish production, complete with a cast of more than 55 dancers, live animals, and opulent sets and costumes.

The Deseret News raves, “Ballet West’s “Giselle” has stunning aesthetics, masterful drama, and heartstopping choreography.” The Salt Lake Tribune said, “Ballet West’s “Giselle” is an exquisite version of a classical ballet with modern-day relevance.”

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Ballet West's
Photo by Luke Isley

About Ballet West’s “Giselle”

Since its Paris premiere in 1841, “Giselle” has been a triumph with audiences. A love story, a ghost story, and a tale of forgiveness, “Giselle” is about a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman, not knowing he is promised to another woman. When she finds out the truth, she goes mad and dies, only to become one of the Wilis, ghostly women who have been betrayed and must spend eternity haunting men.

Giselle was the first ballet to feature dancers “on-pointe” – and was done to emphasize the dancer’s ghostly movements; it was also the very first ballet to have its own original score. The title role of this ballet has been a touchstone in the legacy of many great ballerinas, who have mastered the technical demands and the emotional depth of the story.

In 2014, Artistic Director Adam Sklute reconceived this ethereal production to present a deeper understanding of “Giselle’s” characters. “’Giselle’ is one of the world’s oldest classics full of exciting and dramatic dancing, but what really keeps it fresh and alive to this day is the powerful, evocative, and timeless storytelling,” explains Sklute. “In my version, I have worked hard to develop the characters in in-depth and unique ways that makes them relatable and brings out the essence and beauty of the story.”

Sklute’s “Giselle” has themes of passion betrayal and forgiveness form beyond the grave. In the Utah Standard Examiner, Sklute added, “My biggest challenge has been getting in to the psychology of this classic. Unlike most ballets, “Giselle” is full of multi-layered characters. When you look at the principal characters in the ballet you can really see them all around us. “Giselle” is a teenage girl who bears the pain of falling in love with some who can’t love her back. What teenage girl today hasn’t experienced that degree of heartache?”

“At the same time, with additional choreography by Principal Ballet Master Pamela Robinson-Harris, we have expanded the dancing to magnify the scope and scale of the whole production,” said Sklute.


Tuesday, February 4 at 8PM


Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8448


About Ballet West

For more than 50 years, Ballet West has ranked among the top professional ballet companies in America, entertaining and exciting audiences worldwide. They are regulars at the Kennedy Center and are known for classical ballets as well as new cutting-edge creations.

Since 2007, Sklute has introduced the elegant historical masterpieces from the great Ballets Russes of the early 20th Century and continues to preserve Ballet West’s classical legacy, while further energizing and expanding Ballet West’s remarkable repertoire with works by the most renowned choreographers of today including Ulysses Dove, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, and Stanton Welch. Sklute has further strengthening Ballet West’s heritage by introducing new creations by local, national and international choreographers.

With 40 company members, 10 second company members, and a thriving academy that trains dancers of all ages, many of whom have gone on to professional careers with Ballet West and companies around the world. Ballet West ranks among the top professional ballet companies in America. Since its inception, the Company has had five artistic directors – its founder Willam Christensen, Bruce Marks, John Hart, Jonas Kåge and currently Adam Sklute, each who have helped to build Ballet West’s unique and expansive profile.

About Adam Sklute

Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute was named Artistic Director of Ballet West in 2007. Since then he has expanded Ballet West’s repertoire, visibility, and overall outlook with exciting company premieres, increased touring and public exposure, and greater focus on Ballet West Academy.

In his 10 years at Ballet West, Sklute has presented more than 60 world and Utah premieres. He has presented 27 works never before performed by Ballet West by such renowned historical choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Bronislava Nijinska, and Michel Fokine. At the same time, he has also expanded contemporary repertoire from Jiří Kylián, Mark Morris, and Twyla Tharp, to name a few. He has commissioned 12 world premieres by leading choreographers such as Val Caniporoli, Nicolo Fonte, Jessica Lang, Matthew Neenan, and Helen Pickett. In 2012, Sklute named Nicolo Fonte Resident Choreographer for Ballet West.

Sklute has reintroduced lost elements of Ballet West founder Willam Christensen’s beloved production of “The Nutcracker” and recently oversaw new sets and costumes for this acclaimed classic; the first new designs in almost 30 years. He also produced the reconstruction of Christensen’s 1967 “The Firebird.” He has conceived and produced critically acclaimed new productions of “Swan Lake” (2010) and “The Sleeping Beauty” (2011), and “Giselle” (2014) and launched Ballet West’s Family Series featuring Ballet West II and Academy dancers.

Notably, Sklute developed the Company’s wildly successful annual Innovations program, designed to nurture and present new creations by Ballet West Artists and emerging Utah, national, and international choreographers. Based on the success of Innovations Sklute ushered in two major new initiatives – Ballet West’s National Choreographic Festival, bringing together dance companies from around the country to share the stage with Ballet West all presenting new and innovative creations; and Works from Within a touring program presenting exclusively world premieres by Ballet West artists.

About Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya)

The 2019-20 Season marks the ninth year for the award-winning Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts which has quickly become one of the cultural jewels of the greater Los Angeles region. Under the leadership of Executive Director Thor Steingraber, The Soraya continues to expand its programming and outstanding multidisciplinary performances. The Soraya presents a wide variety of performances that not only include new and original work from the Los Angeles region but also work from around the world appealing to all of LA’s rich and diverse communities.

Located on the campus of California State University, Northridge, The Soraya’s season offers a vibrant performance program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theater, family, and international events that have served to establish The Soraya as the intellectual and cultural heart of the San Fernando Valley, and further establish itself as one of the top arts companies in Southern California. The award-winning, 1,700-seat theatre was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers and was recently cited by the Los Angeles Times as “a growing hub for live music, dance, drama and other cultural events.

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