ERINA Takahashi is relishing the opportunity to bring the doomed heroine Giselle to the stage of Manchester’s Palace Theatre.

Erina, lead principal with the English National Ballet, will be returning to the role in Akram Kahn’s highly-acclaimed version of this emotional work.

Lancashire Telegraph: Erina Takahashi in Akram Khan’s Giselle                                   (Picture: Laurent Liotardo)

“When you have performed a ballet before it does sit in your body and comes back to you relatively easily,” she said. “But the beauty of having done it before is that you can delve even deeper into the character. You are not just repeating the show, you are expanding on it which is very exciting.”

For more than 20 years, Erina has been one of the stars of the English National Ballet and has performed some of the most famous - and challenging - roles in the dance world.

And yet her enthusiasm burns brighter than ever.

“The beauty of Akram’s choreography is that every performance feels very different,” she said. “I might be doing the same steps but emotionally it is always slightly different.

“No matter how many times you do this ballet, it always feels new in a way.

The story of a young girl who falls in love with an aristocrat who has disguised himself as peasant, Giselle dies of a broken heart when she discover he is engaged to another.

“It is an emotionally challenging role,” said Erina. “With Akram’s more contemporary choreography I always find there is a meaning in everything you do.

“Ultimately it is quite heavy emotionally but I actually enjoy that a lot. I like the fact that I can become Giselle on stage and just become a totally different person.

“That’s something I tell younger dancers that you have to work out what kind of person your character is. You have to get lost in the character so you effectively become someone else on stage - that’s something I really like.”

Since becoming principal dancer with the ENB in 2000, Erina has travelled the world and performed on some of the most famous stages including the Royal Albert Hall and even Glastonbury.

But are there any roles which remain on her ‘to do’ list?

“I would like to do Mayerling,” she said. “It’s seen as more of the men’s ballet but I’ve always enjoyed watching it. Then there’s Onegin which is a beautiful ballet which I have never got to do.

“I enjoy ballet that gives me an emotional feeling, that’s what I want to challenge myself with.”

Erina is hopeful that in brining Giselle to Manchester she can persuade newcomers to ballet to give it a try.

“It is unfortunate that some people just think that ballet is not for them and yet they have never seen it,” she said. “Ballet is not just about watching people dancing on stage. It is a total experience at the theatre.

“I have had so many people who came to see Giselle when we have performed it in the past who said they didn’t expect to enjoy it but really loved it. Many of them even came back to see it again.

“I would just encourage people to treat themselves to a night at the theatre and watch the ballet. You don’t even have to know the storyline in advance. Just come along with an open mind and enjoy the total experience.”

English National Ballet’s Giselle, Palace Theatre, Manchester, Thursday, October 19 to Saturday, October 21. Details from