WHEN Northern Ballet Theatre dropped “Theatre” from its name in September 2009, it did not mean the Leeds company would be dropping the theatrical element of its performances. Indeed this year’s spectacular premiere of Cleopatra reinforced the bond.

Giselle, however, is the purest of classical ballet productions, and Ballet Mistress Yoko Ichino’s staging could not be more pure and true to the 19th century romantic work. It is anything but a backward step for the company to perform such a piece; instead, it reminds you of the core of their discipline that then informs Cleopatra and this winter’s world premiere of David Nixon’s version of Beauty & The Beast.

“To inhabit a style of another time expands a dancer’s ability to adapt and to express,” says artistic director David Nixon, explaining the reasoning behind presenting a work from the traditional repertoire.

The only sadness is that, like a dragonfly, the life of this production is all too short, restricted to a week of six performances that concludes today.

Yoko Ichino was a “magnificent Giselle” in her day, recalls David Nixon, and how well Pippa Moore has responded to working with her in the title role.

Nixon reckoned it was the “ideal moment for her to take on this challenge”, and her radiant performance proves him right.

This spring’s announcement of significant funding cuts felt like a low blow from the Arts Council – each performance now begins with a plea for donations from £1 to £10 – but the surest way for Northern Ballet to engender support is to dazzle with its dancing and Giselle certainly does that.

Giselle, Northern Ballet, Leeds Grand Theatre, ends today with performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Box office: 0844 848 2706 or boxoffice@leedsgrandtheatre.com