Grace and sheer genius

Art September 16, 2013 00:00

By Jennifer Parks
Special to Th

3,143 Viewed

Germany's The State Ballet of Karlsruhe brings the much-loved "Giselle" to Bangkok

“Giselle", a ballet of lost love in a supernatural setting, and a gala evening of the world’s greatest ballet dances will take centre-stage in performances by the State Ballet of Karlsruhe next month at the Thailand Cultural Centre as part Bangkok’s 15th International Festival of Dance and Music.

“Giselle”, set for October 9, has been choreographed by Sir Peter Wright, a giant in the world of ballet. His versions of classics like “The Sleeping Beauty”, “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” feature regularly on stages throughout the world.

For his distinguished career, he was awarded a knighthood in the 1993 Queen's birthday honours list, and the Critics' Circle Award 1995 for Distinguished Services to the Arts, among dozens of other accolades.

His choreography underpins “Giselle”, in which the heroine’s tragic fate is foreshadowed when she learns of the legend of the Wilis, the ghosts of young girls who were betrayed by their lovers and died before their weddings. In revenge, they dance to death every man whom they encounter between midnight and dawn.

The ballet director of the State Ballet of Karlsruhe is Birgit Keil, the leading German ballerina of her generation. As a member of the Stuttgart Ballet, she earned international recognition during tours with the company when they appeared at the Paris Opera, La Scala Milan, the American Ballet Theatre New York, and Royal Ballet London.

Since 1968 she has been in both a private as well as professional partnership with Vladimir Klos, principal dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet from 1972 to 1997. Klos is now the associate ballet director of the State Ballet of Karlsruhe.

 With these two legends leading the ballet corps, all that training and showmanship will be readily apparent on October 11 during the Gala Ballet performance. The performance gets underway with “Polonaise” from “Sleeping Beauty – The Last Daughter of the Czar”: an innovative take on the classic with the original music by Peter Tchaikovsky intact, but with new wave choreography by Youri Vamos.

This will be followed by a piece of choreography by Mikhail Fokin, a groundbreaking artist who has staged more than 70 ballets in Europe and the United States. This excerpt from “Les Sylphides,” set to a jaunty score by Chopin, is one of his most beloved dances.

The pas de deux from the “Flower Festival in Genzano”, a one-act ballet by the 19th-century Danish choreographer August Bournonville, is an extremely popular repertory piece with ballet companies around the world. The dance revels in the ups and downs of young love.

“Sonate” with music by Sergei Rachmaninoff is a touching tribute to the German choreographer Uwe Scholz who passed away at the age of 46 in 2004.

Based on a fantastical tale of occult romance called “The Devil in Love” written by Jacques Cazotte, who was guillotined during the French Revolution, “Satanella” was revived by the infamous choreographer and dancer Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St Petersburg in 1848. This extract conjures up the creative spirits of these geniuses from centuries past.

A particular highlight of the second half will be a spirited rendition of the balcony pas de deux from Romeo and Juliet. Premiered in 1965, it was the first full-length ballet choreographed by Sir Kenneth Macmillan, who was appointed the resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet that same year.

These two evenings of balletic grace and genius are supported by the Embassy of Germany and Thai-Deutsche Kulturstiftung.

The festival is sponsored by Bangkok Bank, Bangkok Hospital, B Grimm, Dusit Thani Bangkok, Indorama Venture, Nation Multimedia Group, Beiersdorf, SCG, Singha, Thai Airways International, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Toyota Motor Thailand.


“Giselle” is on October 9 and the Gala Performance on October 11 at the Thailand Cultural Centre. Shows are at 7.30pm.

Tickets are Bt700 to Bt3,000. |Call (02) 262 3191 or check

For more details, visit