Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ballet: Giselle

Giselle, a French-style ballet, was put on by the Korea National Ballet (KNB) to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The story begins in a village where Giselle unwittingly falls in love with Albrecht, the prince of Silesia, who has disguised himself to be near this enchanting maiden of the forest. The beautiful dancing Giselle, however, realizes over time that she is in love with the prince who is unattainable, and like Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, she surrenders herself to death, where she becomes one of the Wilis (the enchanted sylphs of the Rhineland forests who dance and entice men with their ethereal charms and frenzied dancing until the men drop and die of exhaustion). And so Giselle becomes a sylph, and when in remorse Albrecht goes to lay lilies on her grave, he stays too late and the dancing sylphs spring from their grave, surround him and compel him to dance. Only the fingers of the light of dawn save him as his beautiful Giselle, though wanting to save him, is powerless against the order of the queen of the sylphs who orders her to entice Albrecht and dance him to his death. For a more complete story, read here.

The graceful dancing of Giselle and her villagers, Giselle and the sylphs and Giselle and her Albrecht were deligthful to watch. While I loved the mincing fairy steps and light grace of Giselle, I was awed by the powerful vigorous leaps of the male dancer playing Albrecht. He seemed to bound through the air, touching the ground and bounding upwards again! I was amazed! I've seen ballets before, but never have I seen such a powerful male dancer! And though my friends and I watched from the highest tier and the furthest seat back, we could enjoy every mincing step of Giselle's and every might leap and empassioned bound of Albrecht's. A wonderful performance!

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