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Photo: Patrick Frenette.

June 20, 2023

Hosted by ballet historian Elizabeth Kaye, ABT’s Behind the Ballet pre-recorded lectures provide a look into each of the 2023 Summer season productions, drawing you into each ballet with musical and historical insight, clear synopses, and alluring anecdotes of rival ballerinas, style trends, and Tchaikovsky’s woes. Kaye’s unmistakable love of dance and its evolution is ever-present through each lecture, from the classics of Giselle, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet to Christopher Wheeldon’s new work, Like Water for Chocolate.


In this episode of Behind the Ballet, Elizabeth Kaye explains the renowned classic Giselle. Kaye begins with an enticing overview of the Romantic era, and how it shaped the making of this ballet from the introduction of pointe shoes and short tutus to the romance between Carlotta Grisi (the original Giselle) and choreographer Jules Perrot. She then offers an in-depth synopsis of the production’s tragic tale in two acts—an unforgettable story of maddening love, betrayal, and deceit.