Joaquín De Luz

Ballet in two acts

Directed and Choreographed by Joaquín De Luz

A Giselle viewed through the lens of Spanish Romanticism and inspired by the poems of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer.

  • World premiere: Compañía Nacional de Danza at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid (Spain), December 9th 2020

“In 1841, the Ópera de París held the premier of the ballet Giselle, in which the poet Théophile Gautier is inspired by the German legends of Heinrich Heine, creating romantic myths that would come to mark the history of dance: innocent peasant girls in love, grape harvest fiestas, handsome seductive princes, apparitions of the ghostly spirits of the woods …

The previous year, Gautier had visited Spain. Subsequently, his book, Le voyage en Espagne, spurred the romantic fashion among European travellers to experience the country, its society sets and traditions and its folkloric dances.

In 1863, the Spanish poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer retired to the Veruela Monastery, in the Moncayo mountains and, there, surrounded by woodland and nature, he wrote his rhymes of forlorn love and legends of sad fates.

For this new version offered by the Compañía Nacional de Danza our wish was to envisage a Giselle viewed through the lens of Spanish romanticism: inspired by Bécquer’s poetry, we will dance the story of this maiden in love with the handsome foreign traveller whom she will love even beyond death.

Without dropping any of the elements that have placed this piece among the summits of classical ballet, our Giselle also includes Spanish traditions and the bolera school of dance. And in the woods, inhabited by the Willis—those spirits of maidens who died befote marriage—the wind’s voices whisper Bécquer’s verses.

The end of Giselle sees the forces of love and the forces of dance beat both death and darkness. That is the hope that guides us throughout the performance.”

Joaquín de Luz
Borja Ortiz de Gondra


Director and Choreographer

He started his ballet studies at the Víctor Ullate school of ballet. In 1992, he joined Ullate’s dance company, where he remained for three years. In 1995, he joined the Ballet Mediterráneo at the request of Fernando Bujones. In September 1996, Pennsylvania Ballet invited him to join the company as soloist.

In December 1997, he joined the corps de ballet at New York’s American Ballet Theatre (ABT) becoming soloist a year later. During his seven years at ABT, he performed key parts, such as The Bronze Idol and Solor in La Bayadère (Natalia Makarova, after Marius Petipa), Red Cowboy in Billy the Kid, Champion Roper in Rodeo (A. Demille), Blue Boy in Le Patineurs (Ashton), first sailor in Fancy Free (Jerome Robbins), Birbanto in Le Corsaire (A. M. Holmes), Turning Boy in Etudes (H. Lander), Yellow Couple in Diversions of Angels and Benno in Swan Lake (Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov), among many others.

In 2003, he jumped aboard New York City Ballet as soloist to become principal dancer two years later, in 2005. With that company, his experience includes dancing at New York’s Lincoln Center as well as many other of the world’s most emblematic theatres. With NYC Ballet he interpreted some of dance history’s most important parts and roles.

Some of the roles created for him include: Slice to Sharp, by Jorma Elo; Bal de Couture and Romeo & Juliet, by Peter Martins; Outlier, by Wayne McGregor; Year of the Rabbit, by Justin Peck; Concerto DSCH and Odessa, by Alexei Ratmansky and DGV—Danse à Grande Vitesse and Shambards, by C. Wheeldon.

Joaquín De Luz has appeared as guest artist with numerous international companies, such as Compañía Nacional de Danza de España (CND), American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Stanivslasky Theatre in Moscú, Ballet del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, among others.

His many performances in international galas and special events include: Stars of the 21st Century, in París and New York; Intensio, José Carreño and Friends and The World of Diana Vishneva, in Tokio; Tribute to Nureyev in Rome. Additionally, he has appeared in a number of festivals, including the Ravel, Spoletto, Perelada, Santander, Madrid, Vail, Atenas and Miami festivals.

He represented Spain in the Lisbon Expo of 1998 and formed part of the tour Kings of Dance 2007-2011, touring across Russia and USA, to great critical acclaim. Indeed, his career has received widespread acclaim and recognition, including prizes such as: the Gold Medal in Nureyev international contest in Budapest, 2006; the best male dancer prize in the Benois de la Danse in Moscow, 2009; the Madrid Region Culture Prize, 2010, and the Premio Nacional de Danza (Spain) for interpretation, 2016.

Since 2018, he has combined his roles as choreographer and artistic director with that of teacher in the School of American Ballet in New York, at both the ABT’s JKO school and its Studio Company, at the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Los Angeles and at Philadelphia’s Rock School, and is under high demand to give courses and master classes at a wide range of institutions internationally.

On 28 March 2019, Spain’s INAEM, Ministry of Culture and central government jointly announced his appointment, as of September 2019, as director of the Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND), succeeding José Carlos Martínez.

For the CND he has choreographed Arriaga (with Aguiló and Alosa) (2020) and he will premiere Giselle in December of the same year at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, under the Artistic Direction and with Choreography by Joaquín De Luz itself.


Borja Ortiz de Gondra

After studying stage management at Madrid’s Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático (Madrid), he moved to Paris, where he worked as director’s assistant at a series of key public French theatres. Years later, on returning to Spain, he consolidated his name as playwright, winning prizes such as the Marqués de Bradomín, Calderón de la Barca and Lope de Vega, among awards.

His first play premiered in 1999 at the Centro Dramático Nacional. Since then, his work has been constant, regularly putting on plays in Spain and Latin America. Some of those works have been translated into, Czech, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Rumanian, including: Duda razonable, Memento mori, El barbero de Picasso and Dedos (black vaudeville).

He has become a reputed name both in screenplay adaptation of Spanish classics (El burlador de Sevilla, for the Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico) and as a translator of great Anglo-Saxon and Francophile writers (Eugene O’Neill, Joe Orton, Martin Crimp, Michel Azama and Fabrice Murgia).

Also worthy of mention is his work teaching playwriting at Madrid’s Sala Cuarta Pared, where many latter-day authors have honed their art.

His more recent scripts fall within the field of dramatic autofiction, with the trilogy about his own family: Los Gondra (una historia vasca), which won the 2018 Max Award for Best Theatrical Author; Los otros Gondra, winner of the 2017 Lope de Vega prize and Los últimos Gondra (memorias vascas).  The three plays were presented together at the Centro Dramático Nacional in the autumn of 2021.

He is currently living between Madrid and New York. In 2021, he also published his first novel: Nunca serás un verdadero Gondra.

Musical Direction

Óliver Díaz

After finalising his piano studies at the Peabody Conservatory of John Hopkins University, he became the first Spaniard to receive the «Bruno Walter» scholarship for orchestra conducting. With this, he studied at the Juilliard School of Music with such conductors as the maestros Otto Werner Mueller, Charles Dutoit and Yuri Temirkanov.

In 2002, he founded the City of Gijón Symphony Orchestra and, in 2013, the Barbieri Symphony Orchestra; he himself acting as artistic director and principal conductor in both cases. He has over a dozen published albums, recorded for labels such as NAXOS and Warner Music Spain, among others.

His career has led him to conduct orchestras such as the Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceo, the Comunidad Valenciana Orchestra and the Madrid Symphony Orchestra, to name but a few. On the international scene, he has also worked with such orchestras as the New Amsterdam Symphony, the Cluj Philharmonic Orchestra, the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sibiu Philharmonic Orchestra and the City of Lima Symphony Orchestra.

He has also performed in such renowned opera theatres as the Palau de Les Arts (Valencia), Teatro Campoamor (Oviedo), Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela and Teatro Real, Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceo and Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza. He is, additionally, the first Spanish conductor to make his debut in the orchestra pit of Moscow’s prestigious Helikon Theater.

The 2017-2018 season marked further career steps, debuting in the concert programmes of such Spanish orchestras as the RTVE Orchestra of Madrid, the Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra, the Galicia Symphony Orchestra and the Ópera de Tenerife. That season also saw him conducting at the Valencia Orchestra and, furthermore, he was invited back both to the Helikon Theater in Moscow and to the Teatro Campoamor.

His up-and-coming engagements include new productions at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Other events include his return to both Bogota’s Teatro Colón and the Gran Teatro del Liceo, and he will be conducting concerts in Madrid and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. He will also make another debut; this time in the Festival Les Chorégies d’Orange.

In the period 2015-2019, he was Director of Music at Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela. He is also a founding member and vice-president of the Spanish Association of Orchestra Conductors (Asociación Española de Directores de Orquesta – AESDO).

Light designer and video creation

Pedro CHamizo

BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre from the University of Kent, in Canterbury, specialising in acting and directing. He works as video creator, stage manager, lighting designer, graphic designer and producer.

He received the Ceres Youth Award at the Mérida Festival for his entrepreneurial aptitudes.

As video creator, he has collaborated in the following operas: La Traviata, Sanson et Dalila, Maruxa, María Moliner, by A. Parera Fons; Don Giovanni, Othello, La voix humaine and Salomé, directed by Paco Azorín and Fuenteovejuna by J. Muñiz and directed by Miguel del Arco.

Among his video creations in theatre, the following productions stand out: De Federico hacia Lorca directed by Miguel del Arco; La autora de Las Meninas, by Ernesto Caballero; Escuadra hacia la muerte and Julio César directed by Paco Azorína and Nadie verá este video (Nobody Will See This Video), directed by Carme Portaceli.

He has been working as stage manager for Diana Navarro’s two latest works, Inesperado and Resiliencia. In recent years, he has designed the stage sets of the OCNE, together with the maestro David Afkham, in Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional.

Critics have highlighted his dramaturgic, aesthetic and creative aptitudes.

Lighting design and video creation

Pedro CHamizo

Pedro CHamizo (Mérida 1983)

Licenciado en Arte Dramático por la University of Kent at Canterbury en la especialidad de interpretación y dirección. Trabaja como vídeo creador, director de escena, diseñador de iluminación, diseñador gráfico y productor.

Por su capacidad emprendedora fue galardonado con el Premio Ceres de la Juventud del Festival de Mérida.

Como vídeo creador ha colaborado en las óperas: La Traviata, Sanson et Dalila, Maruxa, María Moliner, de A. Parera Fons, Don Giovanni, Otello, La voix humaine y Salomé, dirigidas por Paco Azorín y Fuenteovejuna de J. Muñiz y bajo la dirección de Miguel del Arco.

En teatro destacaron sus vídeo creaciones en las producciones: De Federico hacia Lorca dirigida por Miguel del Arco, La autora de Las Meninas, de Ernesto Caballero. Escuadra hacia la muerte y Julio César dirigidas por Paco Azorín. Nadie verá este vídeo, con dirección de Carme Portaceli.

Es el director de escena de Diana Navarro en sus últimos trabajos: Inesperado y Resiliencia. En los últimos años diseña las puestas en escena de la OCNE junto al maestro David Afkham, en el Auditorio Nacional.

La crítica ha destacado su capacidad dramatúrgica, estética y creadora.


Act I

In a village near Moncayo lives an extraordinarily beautiful peasant maiden called Giselle, who, above all else, loves to dance. One autumn day, she is spotted dancing, from afar, by a group of foreign travellers. Albrecht, a man among that group, is immediately besotted. He conspires with his friend Wilfred to disguise himself as a villager and mingle among the villagers in an attempt to court her. Smitten by her suitor, Giselle begins to ignore her beloved Hilarión, who becomes suspicious of this newcomer’s true identity.

Giselle and Albrecht dance together and, as their mutual attraction grows, the whole village joins in. But Giselle’s mother suddenly rebukes her: her daughter’s health is delicate and the exertions of dance could turn her into a Wili—the night-time spirits of those maidens who died virgins and haunt the woods after midnight.

The rest of the travelling party arrives at the village and, while the villagers ply them with drink, Giselle makes friends with Bathilde, Albrecht’s fiancée, without either of them knowing they are in love with the same man.

The grape harvest festival starts and Giselle is voted queen of the fete. With her mother’s permission, she dances for all gathered. Hilarión, furious at the coquettishness he sees between Giselle and Albrecht, discovers the newcomer’s real identity and ends up revealing it.

Bathilde demands Albrecht come clean and he declares that Giselle is nothing more than a playful distraction to him. He embraces Bathilde and they continue their journey without looking back; thus, he denies himself the love that has swollen in his breast.

In the face of Albrecht’s betrayal, Giselle spins into madness and dances herself to death.

Act II

In the woods, next to Giselle’s grave, a party of mourners, broken with grief, pay their final farewell to the young maiden before leaving the site.

Night falls and, Hilarión enters, breaking the silence, to leave a humble bunch of wild flowers on the grave. He is startled by the sudden appearance of Myrtha, the queen of the Wilis. She orders her Wilis to carry out a cruel act of vengeance: to force him to dance until he falls dead of exhaustion.

Shortly, Albrecht comes through the woods. Despairing at his failure to realise in time who he truly loved, he has come to visit Giselle’s grave. Moved by this gesture, Giselle makes herself visible and tries to save Albrecht from the Wilis vengeful spell. She dances with him throughout that long tortuous night, breathing life into him and helping him survive until dawn.

With sunrise, the Wilis are forced to scurry back to their shadows. Giselle must also withdraw, but in the knowledge that her love has created an eternal link with Albrecht; she saved him but at the price that he will never be able to forget her. And, year after year, until he is an old man, Albrecht will return to Giselle’s resting place, hearing over and again in his head, the beautiful words of the maiden who loved him beyond the grave.


  • Choreography:
    Joaquín De Luz (after the original by Jules Perrot and Jean Coralli)
  • Music:
    Adolphe-Charles Adam (musical version: Joaquín De Luz and Oliver Díaz)
  • Musical Direction:
    Óliver Díaz
  • Booklet :
    Borja Ortiz de Gondra and Joaquín De Luz (from the original by Jules Henry Vernoy and Theóphile Gautier)
  • Dramaturgy:
    Borja Ortiz de Gondra
  • Set Design :
    Ana Garay
  • Costume Design :
    Rosa García Andújar
  • Lighting Design and Video Creation:
    Pedro CHamizo
  • Sound space:
    Víctor Tomé
  • Voices-over:
    Pedro Alonso and Ángela Cremonte
  • Assitants to Choreographer:
    Pino Alosa, Joan Boada, Yoko Taira
  • Assistant to Set Designer:
    Isi López-Puget
  • Assistant to Costume Designer:
    Lucía Celis
  • Hair and Wigs:
    Mª Jesús Reina
  • Set Construction:
  • Wardrobe:
    D'Inzillo Sweet Mode
  • Atrezzo:
    Carlos del Tronco and Palomia Bravo
  • Phonographic Recording Production:
    Fernando Arias (Aria Classica)
  • This is a performance with the possibility of audio-description:
    script by David Ojeda
  • Duration: