The ballet has come to Wimbledon as Varna International Ballet arrives with not one, not two, but three different productions. The company are currently touring these productions, performing each once in each venue – a very pressing task. It is truly impressive how they are touring three productions at once with the same cast.

The production that shall be discussed now is Giselle, which tells the story of a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman, disguised as a peasant himself. The plot has many twists and turns and is rather complex for a story told solely through dance. This is where the first critique of the production comes in. The first act and the second act feel completely detached, with the first act telling a whole story, having a clear beginning and end. Once the interval hits, audiences are confused as to where the story can go. Act 1 is also shorter than Act 2 and feels rather fast paced. This makes the longer Act 2 feel drawn out, and the plot drives to a halt. The dancing is rather nice, but story wise, the show dwindles, and this loses the audience.

The dancing is, as expected, gorgeous. The company has some really nice moments, dancing all together, taking up the entire stage. The soloists prove themselves to be talented. Katerina Petrova stars as the title role of Giselle, and she plays the character well. She portrays all the emotions not just through her face but with her breathing and her body. Her control whilst dancing is hypnotising, and her duet in Act 2 with Tsetso Ivanov who stars as Count Albrecht, the love interest, is very pretty. The two work well together and you can see the connection between them. Ivanov delivers an impressive solo in Act 2. The power he holds in his legs when he jumps and leaps is gravity-defying. Another shoutout must go to Pierre Gaston as Hans, the jealous forester who is also in love with Giselle. He portrays his role well and also delivers an impressive solo of emotions and inner turmoil in Act 2.

Something that must be said is that while very talented, the company does have a few timing issues. The members of the company were going at just slightly different beats at some points that were choreographed to be in perfect synchronisation. Even in the duet, the two jumped and landed out of time. The acting sometimes gave a pantomime vibe, which was not assisted with the cardboard cut out-looking props and set. This is clearly due to the fact that they are performing three different productions, so they don’t have much space, but that does not take away the fact that the production came off the way it did.

All in all, it was a good production, and with some minor improvements and extra rehearsals, it would be fantastic.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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