Жизела / Giselle

Europe Beyond Access partner Per.Art (Serbia) presents Жизела / Giselle, a new dance production commissioned as part of this transnational project. The performance was conceived, documented, written, directed and performed by the Serbian artist Jelena Stefanoska, supported by Per.Art.

Жизела / Giselle is based on an idea by Jelena Stefanoska to perform her interpretation of the tragic ballet character Giselle through contemporary dance. Jelena uses the medium of dance to explore the similarities and differences between herself and Giselle in a society governed by strict rules that prevent individuals from living their lives with dignity and happiness.

Each of the three parts of the performance is based on different danced, written or narrated content that Jelena suggested during the rehearsal process as descriptions and portrayals of her feelings and bodily states, as well as those of Giselle.

Some of them relate to personal values important to Jelena, such as honesty, loyalty and forgiveness. Others focus on ideas around pleasure, joy and the meaningfulness of life, such as connection to nature, passion for self-expression, the need to love and be loved and, above all, a sense of dignity in everything that makes our lives.

Artist’s words

It’s as though someone is calling softly to me in my sleep
The wind carried me
My hands moved me
This is my feeling: I feel that I’m born again but I want to be the same
The same as I used to be
The same Jelena
And my heart is in its right place too.

The creative process

The creative process has been a collaborative one and draws on Jelena’s artistic universe (stories, poems, drawings, magazines clippings, her favourite popular music and pieces of ballet music), as well as her powerful dance improvisations.

As there is a long-term collaboration between the artist and Per.Art, the independent arts organisation has followed Jelena’s wishes, feelings and needs, offered suggestions of its own and created the conditions to support Jelena as a dance artist and help realise her ideas.


  • Idea: Jelena Stefanoska.
  • Selection of motifs from the libretto, music and choreography from the ballet Giselle: Jelena Stefanoska.
  • Story and poem: Jelena Stefanoska.
  • Artistic direction: Jelena Stefanoska, Saša Asentić.
  • Artistic collaboration: Olivera Kovačević Crnjanski.
  • Choreography: Jelena Stefanoska, Jelena Alempijević, Vesna Pašćanović, Olivera Kovačević Crnjanski.
  • Performers: Jelena Stefanoska, Saša Asentić.
  • Light design: Anja Sekulić.
  • Video animation: Paulina Stanko.
  • Music improvisation in the third part of the performance: Dunja Crnjanski.
  • Collaboration on vocal interpretation of folk songs: Mirjana Raić Tepić.
  • Sound: Rastko Ilić.
  • Camera: Ana Lagator.
  • Accessibility and care work provided by: Olivera Kovačević Crnjanski, Nataša Murge Savić, Saša Asentić.
  • Executive production: Nataša Murge Savić, Saša Asentić.
  • Production: Per.Art.
  • Partners: Milan Petrović School, Academy of Arts Novi Sad.
  • Support: Europe Beyond Access – co-funded by the EU programme Creative Europe, City of Novi Sad, Erste bank.
  • Thank you to: Marini Sremac, Aleksandra Kovačević, Alexandre Achour, Frosina Dimovska, Jela Kovačević, Natalija Rodić, Melanija Terzin, Mira Isakov, Nela Milutinović, Stefan Đurić, Gorica Bjelić Dobrosavljević, Zvonimir Ditrih, Violeta Strahinjević, Vlastimir Nedeljković, Gimnazija „Svetozar Marković”, Gimnazija “Laza Kostić”, NS Plakat, Stage Dance studio and Student Cultural Centre Novi Sad.

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