Madeline Eastoe’s swan song performance is the ultimate expression of girl power.

The Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
3 April, 2015

When Monica Mason, the former Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet in London, stepped down from the top job at Covent Garden in 2012, she had infamously failed to commission a single female choreographer to produce a work for the company during her ten year tenure. Mason simply brushed this glaring omission aside, saying the reason for not asking any women choreographers to create a piece for her was because “I have not come across one that I felt was suitable,” and indeed the world of ballet choreography, to this day, is one ruled almost exclusively by men.

However, Giselle,the Australian Ballet’s latest installment in their “year of beauty,” is not only a luxurious celebration of fine classical ballet, executed to the highest levels of precision, but also a potent expression of girl power.

First staged in 1841, Giselleis a narrative born in the crucible of a European cultural elite addicted to ballet’s sumptuous excesses, ethereally talented performers and the enchanting, yet almost inexplicable newfound technique of dancing en pointe.As successful prima ballerinas jostled...