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GISELLE by Lola de Ávila, Oct. 18-29


At the Auditorium Theatre, October 18-29, 2017

CHICAGO –The Joffrey Ballet launches its 2017-18 season with the Chicago Premiere of Lola de Ávila’s visionary adaption of Giselle, one of the greatest and most beloved Romantic era ballets. De Ávila, former Associate Director of the San Francisco Ballet School, has elevated this classic tale of passion beyond the grave to new heights, set to prolific 19th century composer Adolphe Adam’s original score created for the ballet’s premiere in 1841. Giselle ispresented in 10 performances only, October 18-29, 2017.

“Giselle marks the beginning of our 2017-18 season as well as my tenth year as Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet,” said Ashley Wheater. “During this time, we’ve worked tirelessly to redefine dance at the highest level and promote remarkable and moving experiences. One of the most renowned ballets,Giselle showcases the youthful passion of the human spirit in a time when it’s never been more needed. I’m thrilled to present Giselle – the first ballet I worked on as Artistic Director of the Joffrey – to Chicago audiences this fall.”

A ballet in two acts, Giselle is set in the Rhineland of the Middle Ages on the day of the grape harvest festival. When the curtain rises, the cottage of Giselle and her mother Berthe is seen on one side, while opposite is the cottage of Duke Albrecht of Silesia, a nobleman. Albrecht comes to the village in disguise before his marriage to Bathilde, the daughter of the Prince of Courland. Against the advice of his squire Wilfrid, Albrecht flirts with Giselle, who falls completely in love with him. Hilarion, a gamekeeper, is also in love with Giselle and warns her against him, but she refuses to listen. A hunting party enters, among them Bathilde and her father. Giselle is entranced by the nobility. When the party departs, Albrecht reappears with the grape harvesters. A celebration begins but the merriment is brought to a halt by Hilarion who, having investigated Albrecht’s cottage, brandishes the nobleman’s horn and sword. When Giselle learns the truth of Albrecht’s deception, madness overwhelms her heart and she dies.

Act Two begins near Giselle’s grave on the night of her burial. Hilarion is grieving Giselle’s death. He is frightened by Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis – female spirits jilted before their wedding day. At night, the Wilis rise from their graves and seek revenge upon men by dancing them to death. Albrecht enters searching for Giselle’s grave. As her spirit appears before him, Albrecht is overwhelmed by remorse and grief for the girl he grew to love. He begs forgiveness. Her love undiminished, Giselle does. Hilarion enters, pursued by the Wilis, who throw him to his death in a nearby lake. The Wilis then surround Albrecht and sentence him to death. He begs to be spared, but Myrtha refuses. As the Wilis attempt to dance Albrecht to exhaustion, Giselle protects him. Day breaks and the Wilis retreat to their graves. Giselle’s love has saved Albrecht. By not succumbing to the Wilis and their feelings of vengeance and hatred, Giselle is freed from their grasp and returns to her grave to rest in peace.

Tickets and Schedule

The Joffrey Ballet performs Giselle October 18–29, 2017; the full performance schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30pm, Friday, Oct. 20 at 7:30pm, Saturday, Oct. 21 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, Sunday, Oct. 22 at 2:00pm, Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7:30pm, Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:30pm, Saturday, Oct. 28 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, Sunday, Oct. 29 at 2:00pm

Single tickets range from $34 – $174 and are available for purchase at The Joffrey Ballet’s official Box Office located in the lobby of Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph Street, as well as the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, by telephone at 312.386.8905, or online at

Photo credit: to Cheryl Mann.