Dialogues with Giselle

For our very first pre-Factory event Akram Khan’s Giselle, we brought together 489 emerging artists, young people and local community groups to give an insight to the production process that goes into creating a show.

340 Key Stage 3 students from 26 schools across each of Greater Manchester’s boroughs took part in a series of in-school workshops that were led by English National Ballet’s professional dance and music artists and explored specific exercises, creative tasks and phrases of repertoire based on Akram Khan’s choreography.

Curing Albrecht, a short dance film, choreographed and directed by Morgann Runacre-Temple and Jessica Wright, inspired by the dancing madness of Giselle was created at local Edwardian swimming pool, Victoria Baths. The film featured 26 young dancers from across the city region, and has been screened at Festival’s around the world.

I still can’t believe that I was lucky enough to be a part of the project. Working alongside Jess and Morgan, as well as the English National Ballet and Manchester International Festival was unreal. I’ve learnt so much and will hopefully be able to develop what I’ve learnt over the next few months. It was amazing to work with the camera crew, wardrobe, the makeup artists and chaperones. This process has been a really big eye opener and has given me an insight into filming for the screen and contemporary dance.”
17 year old dancer from Trafford

English National Ballet & Manchester International Festival / Curing Albrecht from TripleDotMakers on Vimeo.

9 emerging professionals from across Manchester gained an insight into areas such as choreography, technical, digital content creation and dramaturgy as Giselle Creative Fellows. Each Creative Fellow attended four sessions with their particular creative who include: Akram Khan (Choreographer), Ruth Little (Dramaturg), Al Riches (Technical Director) and Daniel Alicandro (Head of Digital).

3 people aged over 70 years old sat in theatre seats, whilst around 12 dancers rehearse on stage. The people sat in their seats have large sketch-pads and are drawing what they see

A special Age-Friendly Live Drawing session took place for 20 older people at the Palace Theatre as the dancers had their daily ballet class on stage. Returning to Manchester Art Gallery in the afternoon, participants refined their work under the guidance of visual artist Heidi Wigmore.

I now have a desire to see more ballet. I have a desire to explore drawing – I had never thought I was any good at it but I loved it! Thank you for giving me this fantastic opportunity to discover a new passion at my age. Participant, aged 70

Fashion students from The Manchester College and other North West-based colleges responded to a brief set by Academy Award winning Tim Yip on the theme of ‘dislocation’ or ‘underworld’. 15 shortlisted students met with English National Ballet dancers and costumiers in order to further refine their designs. Tim selected two finalists whose designs were made and worn in a specially- choreographed work at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

I now have a new-found love and respect for ballet and modern dance – and having had one of my dreams realised in the process, I can now consider making my career within costume, something I never thought I’d have the chance to do. Student at The Manchester College

We also worked closely with the Whitworth Art Gallery to present a day celebrating Akram Khan’s Giselle that featured: a taster dance class for people with Parkinson’s and their friends and family, an exhibition of the fashion students work,  choreography workshops for dancers aged 17+, ballet and percussion family workshops for children aged 3-8, and an artist talk with with members of the Giselle creative team.

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