ROYAL BALLET GISELLE [29TH APRIL'06] Final Night
Giselle and Albrecht: Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson, Hilarion by Bennet Gartside, Myrtha was performed by Vanessa Palmer, Moyna was by Gemma Sykes and Zulme by Sian Murphy.
Tonight's performance was the best ever, especially Act 2.
Dancing the role for the million time, Leanne Benjamin never fail to show a fresh new side of Giselle. One is never tired of watching her portraying the frail and gentle beauty. For the 2 shows that I have seen, Leanne is like a budding flower, constantly unfolding each petal of feminity and innocence. It is poetry in motion. Her dancing in Act 1 was delivered with enormous vitality and life. In her mad scene, she just got better and better, and more convincing then ever. It was heart breaking to see her soul and love crumple into pieces.
Edward Watson is emerging with brilliance with his dancing and acting. In Act 1, he was much better than his opening performance on the 15th March. He left most of his boyishness behind, and brought out a more manly, authoritative character as Court Albercht. During his courtship to Giselle, he maintained and enhanced his cheekiness and affectionate side of a nobleman, which showed the humanity in the character. His continual affections towards Giselle was written all over his face. He embraces her with his soft look towards her direction, when she was across the stage from him. His dance technique improved since 15th March too. Perhaps it must be the opening and first performance vibes that caused him to be nervous and reserved... Nevertheless, tonight's performance was extremely outstanding.
Personally, it was Act 2 that swept me off my feet, and brought the entire house down. Firstly, Vanessa's Myrtha entrance was not exactly the best I have seen, unfortunately. I just felt that her dancing, and her interpretation of the character was not intimidating enough. I still feel a sense of warmth from the Queen of the Wilis. Her technique is quite strong, however, I would not say, its the best. Her landing seemed to be exceptionally heavy tonight, let's hope its 'the shoes'. Both Moyna and Zulme were not as stunning as the other casts, unfortunately, I just didn't feel like they have conquered the stage when they do their solos, which is a shame. However, the corp de ballet was truly remarkable tonight. Their arabesques were extremely strong and their lines and body lines were well-defined. Very very impressive.
Despite a 'weak' Queen of the Wilis and her two side kicks, Act 2 was saved by the leading duo, Leanne and Edward. Both of them danced with conviction and such strong emotions. Each of their solos, were executed with excellent performance and technique. It was PERFECT. They delivered a new level, a new class of Giselle and Albrecht.
Leanne danced her solos and her pas de deux effortlessly, her landings were as light as feather, and her adagio was performed with etherality. On her entrance, when she had to do her spins, she was quick, agile and precise, and coming out of it, she changed the dynamic of the movement creating a new climatic moment.
Edward's solos in Act 2 was breathtaking. His bravura leaps, beats and pirouettes were clean and sustained. He made it looked very very well-rehearsed and well-thought, and of course, without a doubt, effortless too. His acting in Act 2 is better than what he did on the 15th March. He wasn't just dancing the character, he had made the audience believed that he IS Albrecht. One could feel his remorse, and pain and his broken heart when he kneeled at Giselle's grave. His 'heart' may be broken, but through him and his dancing, it has touched the many hearts of the audience. I don't think I need to say much about their pas de deux. Both principles supports each other both physically and emotionally. It felt like time was at a standstill when the two of them did their pas de deux. The connection between them was beyond the ethereal world. It was the most heartbreaking when Giselle exits... and Albrecht left alone on stage.
Their performance was extremely convincing, it did not just touched the hearts of the audience, but left tears in our eyes, ( well, I know the lady beside me and I were touched to tears).