Behind-the-scenes shots from the National Ballet classic Giselle

Behind-the-scenes shots from the National Ballet classic Giselle

Dancer Antonella Martinelli (right).

Giselle is the ballerina’s Hamlet: an enduring classic with a title role that’s both highly coveted and extremely demanding. The National Ballet of Canada first performed the show in the 1950s, and it’s remained in its repertoire ever since. Generations of dancers have taken the stage as the heartbroken peasant girl, her lovers or the ghastly spectres that bring her back to life. Daniel Neuhaus, Toronto Life’s director of photography, attended a rehearsal for the Ballet’s new production, which opens Wednesday night, and captured the latest wave of dancers to take on the beautifully spooky ballet.

National-Ballet-Giselle-2 The corps practices the procession of the Wilis, the spirits that bring Giselle back from the grave.


National-Ballet-Giselle-3 Corps de Ballet member Calley Skalnik.


National-Ballet-Giselle-4 The Wilis rehearsing.


National-Ballet-Giselle-5 Principal dancer Heather Ogden is one of three performers who will assume the role of the Queen of the Wilis.


National-Ballet-Giselle-6 Choreographer Sir Peter Wright kisses principal dancer Jurgita Dronina.


National-Ballet-Giselle-7 Second soloist Hannah Fischer plays the Queen of the Wilis.


National-Ballet-Giselle-8 Hannah Fischer.


National-Ballet-Giselle-9 Calley Skalnik.


National-Ballet-Giselle-10 Calley Skalnik.


National-Ballet-Giselle-11 Heather Ogden.


National-Ballet-Giselle-12 Heather Ogden with the corps.


National-Ballet-Giselle-13 First soloist Harrison James and principal dancer Jurgita Dronina play the roles of Albrecht and Giselle.


National-Ballet-Giselle-14 Jurgita Dronina and Harrison James.


National-Ballet-Giselle-15 Harrison James and Jurgita Dronina.


National-Ballet-Giselle-16 Sir Peter Wright directs first soloists Jordana Daumec and Chelsy Meiss.


National-Ballet-Giselle-17 Second soloist Emma Hawes (left) and first soloist Tanya Howard (right).


National-Ballet-Giselle-18 The Wilis rehearsing.




June 16, 2016

An earlier version of this post misidentified Calley Skalnik as Alexandra MacDonald in one photo.


June 15, 2016

An earlier version of this post stated that Harrison James is a principal dancer, a position he will assume on July 1, 2016.