Akram Khan’s Giselle: Social Context | English National Ballet

Akram Khan’s Giselle: Social Context | English National Ballet


At the moment that Giselle came out it reflected the mood of the society
that it was created in, somehow a symbol of what people were already feeling or
perceiving about the place of women, the place of romantic love vs. convenient
marriage. That’s always very important when art is able to represent
what the rest of society is dealing with and maybe struggling to cope with. The
beauty of these classics is that the core theme is timeless. Giselle is more than just about love
betrayal and forgiveness. It is about social context. How do you
make your choices about love? Do you listen to your heart desires? Do you listen to your mind? Do you listen
to your peers? Should you constrain your desires and your love within your social
background? There would have not been a betrayal if there wasn’t a social context. The thing that makes Giselle different is the redemption, is the forgiveness, is that huge love that goes beyond the betrayal, that comes back and is able to again
sacrifice itself for their love. I always try to look for something that is ancient and modern at the same time. Landless… People that are landless and people that are landowners, factory owners and factory workers has been there for a long time. Especially landowners and landless people, people who migrate to
another place for resource and source… It’s the present, you know,
present time especially with the migration of mass number from Syria and all over
the world into Europe. We’re doing what we call “the migration
scene”: that’s just a mass number of people just migrating and
transforming from animal to human, human to animal. I like the idea of the second half being in factories, ghost factories factories that are huge megafactories
that are built and then once it dries up the company moves on into a
cheaper place in another place but these factories remain and they’re like ghosts
because they carry the memory. So in a sense the second half is based in this ghost factory. We do analyse every bit of the
character that we take for granted. It is the actions of people based on their
feelings that create consequences. If they had loved each other from a distance no one would have suffered, but they
decide to live that love and he decides to do it knowing he can’t and he
shouldn’t and that someone will pay the price and she does…

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