American Ballet Theatre Post-Performance Reflection

Apr 04, 2014

After experiencing the large production of Giselle by American Ballet Theatre seen on the Carlson Family Stage this weekend, we have some questions for you to reflect upon.

  • What did you notice about the character of Giselle and how her character relates to the period in which Giselle was choreographed (late 19th century)?
  • What did the elaborate scenery remind you of?
  • How did you feel about the death of Giselle in the arms of Albrecht?
  • How did the fullness of the live orchestra make you feel?
  • What questions does the story raise?
  • How did the excellent acoustics and sightlines aid your experience?

Tell us about your experience at Northrop's Grand Reopening. We would to hear your thoughts on the performance and the reimagined Northrop. Did you attend the Northrop Inside Out After Dark Grand Reopening Gala Festivities? Do you have a new Northrop story?

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It was a wonderful night at the Grand Reopening of Northrop. The entertainment and festivities were so well planned, providing guests with an evening filled with entertainment connecting everyone to our community and the new Northrop. The American Ballet Theatre flawlessly performed "Giselle". And seeing Paloma Herrera dance Giselle's spirit was beautiful. Her flowing technique made her appear transparent as if she truly was etheric and not in physical form.

As a U of M student, though I loved the performance and the following festivities, I was disappointed that students got the least desirable seats in the house on this opening night. Is Northrop not designed for students and student use? It seemed like tonight, students were second class when Northrop provided only the gallery seats at student rates. Many of you who had been college students know that most of us would not be able to afford the $100+ required for the closer seats. Additionally, seats in the student section became sold out well in advance of the performance, even though the other sections had a significant amount of open seats, and Northrop opened additional seats only on the day of the performance. This led to seats being unclaimed, preventing students who would have otherwise gone to the performance from coming. T Overall, if Northrop is to be a venue that embraces and encourages student participation in the arts, it should be willing to provide a bigger and better seat selection for its students.

The festivities for the evening were wonderful. However, It was very congested getting into the main floor as there were only two entrances at the back when there used to be four. Patrons were confused as to what door to go into and it took awhile for everyone to get seated. The champagne and deserts were lovely but the band in the hallway was very, very loud. I was a bit disappointed in the production of Giselle as the lighting was a bit dark in places. In one spot when Albrecht was entering the cemetery, you could not see his Squire at all as he did not move very far from the wings and there was no light on him at all.

I was so excited to attend the Gala reopening of Northrup. Having been a student and an employee on campus in the 70's and 80's on the Mall there, I had been inside Northrup hundreds of times and knew it's character. So when it was closed along while for renovation, I was eagerly awaiting the day when it might be done. Suddenly that day was coming, and I snapped up tickets for Giselle. I was in a daze just looking at all the renovation, renewal and the preservations of certain elements of the old. There was present both devotees of the old Northrup and a new audience at the first opening event. I was pleased that so many attended. For me the highlights were the U of M Marching Band arriving at the end of the show and the jazz live music in the hall which was louder than anything I've ever heard at Northrup. So I'm happy. That special occasion was truly special for me. Thanks, Cyrus. It's nice to see you again. You are looking just fine!

I absolutely adored the grand reopening gala. I am an undergraduate student at the U, and I was very happy with the student ticket pricing for such an amazing event. The ballet was fabulous, and I absolutely loved the performance of davina and the vagabonds. The complimentary desserts and champagne were an excellent touch; I was thoroughly impressed. The renovation is absolutely beautiful, and I can't wait to go to more events at Northrop. I'm especially excited for the Northrop Moves series to be back on campus. Great Job!

The renovation and the Carlson Family Stage are very impressive (acoustics are incredible; we heard every toe touching the floor, every plastic flower dropping to the stage, even with an orchestra of 60 musicians playing in the pit). The ticketing and parking staff were very helpful and professional. Reinstallation of the loggia (painted white, with theatrical lighting on them) in the stairwells are beautifully done. Great art gallery on top floor and nice spacious seating area outside Best Buy Theatre. Everything worked on opening night, so congratulations are in order for that! So many things could have gone wrong, but it all came off seamlessly. Act I of "Giselle" should never be presented again! I'm sure the dance crowd enjoyed seeing this museum piece, but please, put Act II on the bill with something else next time. Pretty costumes in Act I, yes, but many empty seats after intermission ... and they missed the best dancing of the evening. Loved the marching band!! That was a terrific moment. Desserts (other than chocolate) were very strange and difficult to find. Champagne spilled all over the tables, with no napkins in sight. Tablecloths not tied together underneath the round tables, so shoes grabbed the fabric and pulled everything from the table with it. (Back to catering 101 class for the event planners, whoever they were.) Music was wonderful, but loud in the confined inner-lobby. Enjoyed the new Northrop Fanfare by U of M music student.

The ballet was wonderful. It was enchanting to see a full story ballet, with live orchestra and elaborate scenery, cast, (including the well trained hunting dogs!) and costumes. The acoustics and sight lines are good. It was nice to be able to view straight on without having to bend my neck to see around the person in front of me. The dancing was exceptional and the live orchestra a treat. The ornate stone work framing the stage was bright and beautiful. Unfortunately, the facility is still a cramped maze of hallways and stairs that are difficult to navigate and get congested quickly. We parked in the Nolte garage and walked through the tunnel only to end up in another garage with other dazed theater goers wondering how to reach the theater. Luckily there were valets there to direct us back inside to a different set of elevators because there was no signage to do so. We experienced the same confusion trying to get back to the Nolte after the performance, along with several others, again, no signage in the elevator. Once we finally entered the Northrop, we were again confused as to where to go. More signage overall would be helpful.

The ballet itself was probably the least enjoyable ballet I have ever seen. The lead man was often off the music, and that distracted me. The second half - in the graveyard was very long and tiresome. The choreography was uninteresting, and I am not expert, but I think it may have deviated considerably from a pervious version of Giselle that I saw in a different theater (The Royal Theater in Copenhagen, perhaps?). The view from the upper balcony (the ceiling section), was hindered dramatically if anyone in a row directly in front of the one in which we were sitting leant forward. We could not see the orchestra, either, which meant we didn't know why people were clapping. I assumed, based only on past experience, that it was because the conductor had walked in. For a show that might have been intended to draw new people into the appreciation of Ballet, it was probably a very poor choice, as every performance I have ever seen at Northrop, including the Nutcracker, was better than this one.

We throughly enjoyed the marvelous Giselle danced by the American Ballet Theater. What an extraordinary joy! The new venue is fabulous. Comfortable, plenty of leg room and good sight lines. Many thanks Kathleen

I love what you have done to the venue and enjoyed the performance of Giselle. I thought the sets, costuming, lighting were outstanding and loved the live orchestra. It was a fine afternoon to enjoy excellent, professional dancers. Thanks for bringing to us the American Ballet Theatre.

The performance was absolutely magical. I have seen lots of companies perform this over the years & this one was delightful. Costuming & sets were all well done. The only 'gripe' I have is that the 2nd act was so darkly lit. Yes, I know it all takes place at night but it was hard enough to see from president circle seat but was even worse in the very dim 2nd act. Too bad, ABT! The orchestra was marvelous -- great sound system. I really loved the all NEW! & IMPROVED! Northrup -- great design & lots of useful & different spaces. All so light & airy. Whew! what a difference from the old place, for sure! I am delighted to have had a chance to experience the re-opening

Magnificent afternoon with ABT performing Giselle at the Northrop Grand Reopening weekend. I'm not a huge fan of the classical 19th century story ballets & I've seen most of them several times. But this was exceptional. Live orchestra, male lead doing battments while leaping forward (what?), the corps in the second act never missed a beat, the dancers were precise, yet emotive, beautiful arms, effective pantomime in the storytelling of the first act. The prima ballerina-breathtaking. Can't say enough about the company & the whole performance. The new Northrop does not disappoint but they must have cut it pretty close as it still smells strongly of fresh paint & plaster. Comfortable seats!!!! Missing? - bigger women's restrooms....

Amazing! Best ballet ever, the quality of the American Ballet Theatre dancers was inspiring, the theatre renovation is amazing, the orchestra was first class all the way, great acoustics and an overall BRILLIANT experience.

I am not a ballet expert, but I do know that Giselle has been performed for over 150 years, which means it is in many ways the closer to the origins of ballet, which is pantomime, while showcasing very difficult classical ballet moves. Consequently, more pantomime has survived in this ballet than in many 'more exciting' pieces that some responders had wished for. The first act can be a challenge for those not attuned to what constitutes classical ballet. However, one has to look beyond the 'story telling' pantomime to the amazing corps work and the level at which it was executed. This was ABT, one of the finest companies in the world. It was a privilege to see ABT perform after Tokyo and Dubais, their only other performances outside of NYC. Kudos to Northrup Dance for bringing them here for this wonderful grand reopening. The hall is wonderful - great site lines and better acoustics. The celebration following the performance was a blast. Thanks Northrup Dance.

Enjoyed the event over all. Music was wonderful by the Minnesota Orchestra musicians! Enjoyed the dancers and able to follow the storyline. Impressed by the American Ballet Theatre members! UoM marching band was a real treat to hear at the end. Enjoyed having time to look around before the performance but then had difficulty finding seating area or help from anyone that was familiar with the layout. Disappointed in the seats as I had bought tickets early and expected better. Noted seats not filled. We ended up in the top balcony to the left side of the stage. People were still coming in trying to get seated as the performance was starting. Not much room for them to get to the middle area. I am average to tall height but my feet barely touched the floor when sitting. We could view the stage but felt looking straight down on the performance was not best for a ballet, except for seeing some of the patterns the Wilis dancers made. Would have liked to see more of the orchestra pit and the band from upper level but both sounded great. We didn't stay long after getting to the crowded main floor. The building itself is looking good and I hope that it does get a lot of student use. So glad the Northrup Auditorium is open again.

I took my UofM junior and HS junior to the ABT Sunday afternoon matinee and we LOVED the performance. The acoustics and orchestra were wonderful, as were the sight lines and dancing. Bravo!

I am a third year student at the U. I enjoy the low-cost arts scene available through student productions and rush tickets, and I am also a member of the marching band. I attended the opening night of Giselle as an audience member and stayed after for some of the festivities. I had a blast. Giselle was fun, and movingly tragic. The characters intrigued me by the way they were portrayed not as Robin Hood-esque, class-divided good guys and bad guys but deep, dynamic characters who could all be considered "good." Having a seat in the nosebleeds didn't bother me. I am thrilled to have been able to attend for just $15 (or $10 of I would have gone on another night). When regular tickets go for over $150, I don't mind being relegated to the upper balcony, which still had a splendid view. The marching band was fun. I think bringing them on right after the curtain call was a little distasteful, given that the ballet was a tragedy. Perhaps a better choice would have been to bring them in to the reception. I was also disappointed that I could not see the band from the balcony. Perhaps in old Northrop there was a wider floor area where they were visible to all, but not now. Finally, the "gala." I had so much fun after Giselle. I particularly loved the swing band/combo, which fit right in with Northrop's style and everyone's attire. I felt like I was brought back to the 1920s. It was so classy and carefree. Even after I remember Giselle as "a ballet" and Northrop as "an auditorium," that night will sparkle in my memory.

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