2012 - Giselle


Giselle ...In an idyllic village Hilarion pays a visit to Giselle's cottage to leave behind a bouquet of fresh flowers in the early morning. Hilarion has been secretly in love with Giselle for quite some time.

Before Giselle steps out of her cottage the Duke of Silesia has made his way into the village upon which his castle overlooks. The handsome Duke is supposed to marry Princess Bathilde, however he spotted Giselle several days prior and, hoping to win her love, disguises himself as a peasant.

While disguised, the Duke introduces himself as Loys to Giselle who is immediately drawn to him and falls deeply in love. When Hilarion returns, he warns her not to trust the stranger so willingly, but she doesn't listen. Berthe, Giselle's mother, doesn't approve of Giselle's infatuation with the stranger.

Hilarion returns with information about the stranger, Loys. Hilarion produces the Duke's sword and horn. Giselle pieces together the Duke's lies, and even puts the Duke's sword to her own heart. Tragically, Giselles weak heart fails her and she falls to the ground and dies.

Hilarion visits Giselle's grave and mourns her death. As he weeps, the Wilis (vengeful female spirits who died abandoned on their wedding days) rise from their shallow graves at night to haunt and kill men. Hilarion runs back to the village. Meanwhile, the Duke has ventured out into the dark night in search of Giselle's grave. The Wilis raise Giselle's spirit when the Duke draws near. The spirits disappear and the Duke is reunited with Giselle. Even in the after life, she still loves him and is quick to forgive him.

Hilarion unable to escape The Wilis torment is chased into a nearby lake and drowns. The evil spirits then turn toward the Duke and they are determined to kill him as well. Myrtha the Wilis Queen, emerges and showing no mercy forces him to dance without stopping. Giselle reappears and protects the man she loves until the sun rises and the Wilis return to their graves. Giselle has rejected the vengeful spirits and not only saves the Duke's life, she manages to save her own eternal life. She returns to her grave in peace without ever having to rise at night to hunt down the lives of men.


Jubilation.  A new work as a celebration of the music and optimism of the era just after her Majesty acceded to the throne in the 1950's.


For the 2012 Giselle were:-

Natalia Ashikhmina. Born in Bratsk, Russia, Natalia graduated from the world-renowned Novosibirsk Ballet Academy studying under Tatiana Sulimova and Tatiana Kapustina. She accepted Vyacheslav Gordeyev's invitation and became the youngest prima ballerina of the Russian National Ballet in Moscow where she worked with Andrey Kudeline and partnered with Yuri Burlaka.

Five years later, Eldar Aliev offered Natalia a principal position with Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis where she worked with legends Irina Kolpakova and Vladilen Simeonov. Natalia joined the Louisville Ballet as a principal dancer in 2006. Here, she has the privilege of working with Bruce Simpson, Helen Starr, Alun Jones, Harald Uwe Kern and a multitude of wonderful choreographers and stagers.

Her repertoire includes Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle Giselle, Nikiya La Bayadere, Belle Beauty and the Beast, Zabeida Scheherazade, The Sylph La Sylphide, Kitri Don Quixote, Daisy Andre Prokovsky’s The Great Gatsby, The Dying Swan, Helen Picket’s Etisian, Val Caniparoli’s Vivacé and over 100 performances as Odette/Odile Swan Lake.

Natalia won the Audience Award at the 1998 International Ballet Competition Arabesque, a gold medal at the 1999 Competition of Professional Ballet Academies in Russia, performed at the 2004 Gala des Etoiles in Montreal and holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Novosibirsk Choreographic College. She and her family now call Louisville home.

Louisville Ballet

Phillip Velinov. Born in Bulgaria’s capital, Phillip started his training at the State Choreographic School in Sofia and later transferred to the Alabama School of Fine Arts on a full scholarship. Upon graduation, he joined the Alabama Ballet and later won the first full performing arts scholarship in the 150-year history of Birmingham-Southern College completing a B.A. with honors in Dance.

Phillip has had the honor to study and work with Maestro Roumen Rachev, Dame Sonia Arova, Thor Sutowsky, Professor Mira Popovich, Vladilen Simeonov and Irina Kolpakova. He was a soloist with Ballet Internationale (Indianapolis) prior to joining the Louisville Ballet as a principal dancer in 2006. Phillip received diplomas at the 1998 and 2002 Varna International Ballet Competions and won the 1998 Birmingham Fine Arts Society Award for Excellence in Dance.

Repertoire highlights include a wide spectrum of roles: Albrecht in Giselle, the Golden Slave in Scheherazade; The Nutcracker, Sugar Plum Cavalier and Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker; Nana the dog in Peter Pan, Basilio, Espada, Gamache and Lorenzo in Don Quixote, Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, Doctor Coppelius in Coppélia; Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream; as well as George Balanchine’s Agon, Lila York’s Celts, and “That’s Life” in Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs.

Louisville Ballet

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