Just in time for the flurry of Giselles we’re seeing in London this week (thanks to the Bolshoi), here’s something to enhance your experience of this ballet. Eric Taub of Demicontretemps has written a very interesting post where he reflects on the similarities between Act I and Act II of Giselle: is one the bizarro world version of the other?
The greatest relation between the acts is a sort of dramatic chiasmus: Albrecht kills Giselle, Giselle saves Albrecht. It’s not just a dramatic reversal, but one that’s manifest in the choreography. Act I ends with Giselle dead at Albrecht’s feet; Act II almost ends with Albrecht dead at Giselle’s feet. Of course, where Albrecht brought about Giselle’s death, Giselle’s actions allow Albrecht to live; when Giselle falls, she doesn’t get up; when Albrecht does, Giselle helps him to rise, because that’s the kind of girl she is. Even dead, she’s a better person than Albrecht. Go figure.
Read the full post at Demicontretemps