June 27, 2014

I ❤ NY: The American Ballet Theatre Performs Giselle (Spring 2014 Season)

Hee Seo as Giselle
Image Source: ABT
      After seeing ABT perform Giselle at the Lincoln Center last weekend, I was reminded of why so many little girls wanted to be ballerinas when they grew up. The dancers are so poised, graceful, and delicate - I truly respect their craft and the amount of discipline it takes to be a ballerina. I highly recommend anyone who is an admirer of ballet to go see a show at least once in their lifetime. Better yet, if you are visiting NYC and are able to purchase tickets to coincide with your visit, it's definitely something you should do! If you're a first-timer and are curious about what it's like to attend a ballet show, click through the jump!

      Although I've always admired ballet, I've never actually gone to see one until last week. However, I'm hooked now! I'm hoping to see Swan Lake, Cinderella, and the Nutcracker sometime in the near future. Also, due to ballet etiquette, I was not allowed to take pictures of the actual performance. Thus, the photos of the performance used below are not mine. Only the photos of the interior of Lincoln Center and the playbill are mine.
      Giselle is a romantic ballet in two acts. It's set in a pastoral countryside village in France. In the first act, we meet Giselle, a young girl who falls in love with a man who seems to be a peasant, but he's actually a nobleman dressed in peasant clothing. After learning of his deception, she falls into madness and eventually dies of a broken heart. In the second act, set in a somber and moody graveyard where Giselle is buried, we meet the wilis - women spirits who died of unrequited love and who roam Earth from dusk til dawn. The Queen wili, Myrta, is overseeing an initiation of Giselle into their sisterhood. The initiation goes on normally, until the nobleman who fell in love with Giselle, comes to visit her grave. For the performance I patroned, South Korean native Hee Seo was the principal dancer as Giselle.

The wilis

Hee Seo as Giselle.

The seating at Lincoln Center.

Lincoln Center's golden ceiling and starry chandeliers. I was obsessed with the ceiling!!

The playbill.


      Just to be clear, I'm in no way a ballet expert! I'm just going to write my general experience and thoughts on the performance. For starters, it was amazing seeing the performance in the Lincoln Center. The ambience and decor is just phenomenal, and I feel very lucky to live in New York and having the opportunity to see a show there easily. As for the performance, I loved the backdrops they used on the stage. The first act was brightly lit and quaint as it was set in a village. The second act, while definitely more somber with fog effects, was the more gorgeous because the ballerinas don the classic white dresses as wilis. They look even more ethereal against the dark backdrop. The second act was of course my favorite! The dance of the wilis was just so pretty and I loved seeing all the lines that the dancers made when dancing in a group.


Ballet Etiquette
  • Dress Code: Generally, there is no dress code for the ballet. However, it may vary from venue to venue. Lincoln Center does not have a dress code, and patron attire ranges from jeans to dresses (but I didn't see full length gowns since I went to see a matinee).
  • Tardiness: The ballet starts promptly at the scheduled time. My friend told me they will not let you in the door past 10 minutes of the starting time. Subsequently, time is of the essence for the ballet!
  • Photography: As I mentioned earlier in the post, the ballet is very strict on their no photography rule. It is not like the movie theatre, where people break the rule all the time and open their phones. During the two-hour performance, I did not see one patron use their phone. Hence, be sure to put your phones on silence or vibrate and prepare to answer your phone only during the short intermission (if there is one) or after the show.
  • Seat Changes: If your performance isn't fully booked, you usually can switch seats or change seats right before the start of the ballet. This usually means that the seats were not assigned, or that the attendee did not show up. If your performance has an intermission, you could also try to change during that time.

Concluding Remarks
      If you're interested in going to the ballet, you can purchase tickets from the ABT website. Keep in mind there are other ballet companies performing at Lincoln Center besides ABT. You have to see which companies are visiting or performing at the Lincoln Center at a certain time. Ballet companies usually announce their schedules per season (fall, winter, spring, summer). I would check out the calendar depending on what month you would like to go and choose your tickets accordingly

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