Tonight I attended my first live ballet performance, Giselle. I think it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The moment the prima stepped out and applause rose through the theater, I was hooked. They were gorgeous, every single one of them. The corps de ballet can be a thankless, overlooked position, but they were one of the most spell bounding parts of this performance. Undulating, synchronized, and perfect movements. And then of course, there was Giselle.
A young, peasant girl wooed by a Count who is disguised as a farm boy. Albrecht and Giselle fall in love despite the fact that he is already betrothed to a daughter of the Duke. Giselle agrees to marry the farm boy, despite the romantic advancements of another peasant, Hilarion, who suspects that Albrecht is an imposter. Upon learning of Albrecht’s true position, Giselle goes mad and dies of a broken heart.
The second act of the ballet takes place in a forest beside Giselle’s grave. Mrytha, the Queen of the ghostly Wilis, virgins who have died of unrequited love, calls upon them to accept Giselle as one of their own. In revenge to all men, any man who enters the forest is danced to his death. When Hilarion comes to Giselle’s grave, the Wilis make him dance to his death. But when Albrecht comes, Giselle, now a Wili, forgives him and dances with him until dawn, when the Wilis’ power is lost. Albrecht is redeemed.
It was completely eerie, beautiful, and captivating.