Giselle is the romantic ballet par excellence, it is the terrible and splendid result of this so strange way of understanding life and love in 19th century Europe.

Love, this fragile tiny glow that dies at the first breath and leaves one of the two lovers alone, definitively lost, definitively unhappy, definitively cursed among living people.
This is exactly what the Romantics’ love is: a feeling too strong to be stifled and too fragile to last.

Seeing Giselle and running away from love, that could be the lesson.

But of course, that would be too easy.
Not all of us are so hung up on our lives that we prefer to turn ourselves into stones on the roads – a stone, it’s true, is not likely to die.
But the life of a stone is not so dreamy either.
So, more than a century later, we still look at these romantic works – hoping, of course, to succeed in living and making love live. Of course, the choice of the way of the stone is always possible.

Yet, the story of Giselle and her lover began so beautifully, so well.
They are both so charming.
She dances with so much spirit, joy, enthusiasm
He dances with so much tenderness, softness, attention

here is the splendid interpretation of the Royal Ballet this year – just look at the beginning, and you will see all this freshness of lovers, joy, shyness, enchanted hearts ….

Giselle – Royal Ballet – August 2021

They are beautiful, they are young, they are madly in love.
Only one small detail announces the problem
But as we are all incurable tender hearts, we imagine that this problem will be a happy solution.

The problem will be an element of solution – but …. it is a romantic time, then…

…then, necessarily, at a moment, we arrive more in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, with this question, which will become more and more poignant, more and more violent, more and more pressing: will the love succeed in saving the lover? Will love manage to be strong enough for the lover not to suffer the curse?

6 versions of the same scene, one of the most terrible in Giselle

As this becomes the major question, of course, I won’t give you the answer.

And as it is a love story, of course the lovers are confronted with all the difficulties of the world: society, money, jealousy, malice, envy, moral rules, slander

How can this fragile little flame called love resist so many attacks?

So Giselle is a classical ballet, that’s right, but above all it’s a narrative ballet – not understanding the story just means that you fell asleep during the performance and shame on you! falling asleep during Giselle! What a strange idea! What a lack of class! What sensitivity of a beaver building his dam! yes I worked all day, I chop wood myself ma’am, I’m tired, la la la ….

Finally, an excerpt from the Royal Ballet’s rehearsals for the 2014 performances.

Natalia Osipova, Carlos Acosta and Peter Wright in rehearsals for Giselle (The Royal Ballet) 2014

Yes, I admit to a complete weakness for the work done by the Royal Ballet – yes I know, there are dozens of other wonderful companies – but I love the Royal Ballet best, that’s it.

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Featured Image : Giselle – Act II – Royal Ballet 2014

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