We had the chance to talk to Ludovic Ondiviela, choreographer of Ballet Ireland’s “Giselle”, which is on tour from 22nd April to the 26th May. It runs in the Project Arts Centre from the 22-29 April.
“Giselle is a haunting story of love and betrayal. Ballet Ireland’s 21st-century telling of this romantic classic is a timeless tale of the redemptive power of love. Giselle dies broken hearted by Albrecht, but her spirit returns to protect and forgive her now repenting lover from death at the hands of the vengeful Wilis. Choreographed by Ludovic Ondiviela, former Royal Ballet dancer and choreographer, Giselle reminds us of how it feels to have your heart broken, but still yearn to love.”
This is a new version of Giselle which was originally performed in 1841. What inspired you to go back to this story?
“Giselle” has always been for me one of the most significant examples of ballet romanticism.
The original inspiration for its 1841 premier came from two ghost stories – Victor Hugo’s poem “Phantoms” and Heinrich Heine’s “On Germany”.
It is the story of selfless love and forgiveness that goes beyond a place, a time or a line between life and death – therefore still relevant today.
I was excited in re-staging Giselle’s story in a more modern vision and interested in translating this powerful tale to a place in our present life.
After having danced the traditional production for many years at the Royal Ballet I wanted to explore and give our characters a realistic flavour and a deep understanding of their motives and relationships whilst keeping and developing the more romantic aspects of the traditional story.
Do you use any elements of the original or is it entirely new?
I felt it would be important to keep certain element from the original – I don’t believe in changing the old just for the sake of it. I wanted to use this beautiful work as inspiration and platform to grow from.
How do you create a dance piece? Does it evolve through interaction with the dancers?
Absolutely, it’s all a collaboration process, each dancer will have a different physicality and personality. They are the ones performing it in the end. For it to feel and look genuine it needs to be made on and with them. I believe that if the dancer feels comfortable with the material then it will be that much more powerful for them and the audience.
When does your involvement end with the project? Are you involved through to opening night or beyond?
Dance is a living art form, therefore it evolves and changes all the time. No two performances will ever be the same and for this reason you never have an actual finished product. So in that sense I would say that my involvement never ends.
The story focuses on a mythical creature I hadn’t heard of before, the Wilis. What can you tell us about them?
The Wilis are supernatural creatures, young brides who died of a broken heart before their wedding day. They wake up from their graves at night and look for revenge by killing men who dare walk through their forest.
Although the traditional production has focused on making them beautiful and romantic-looking, I think they would be absolutely terrifying.
What are you working on next?
The next few months will be very diverse, which I like! New dance creations. commercial work and a VR movie all in the making.
Twitter – @BalletIreland @projectarts