By Sally Banes
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It will explain why both Albrecht and Giselle are “saved”—why he is not killed by the Wilis, and why she finally rests in peace in her grave. Giselle was written by Théophile Gautier and Jules-Henri Vernoy de SaintGeorges, inspired by two poems: “De l’Allemagne,” by Heinrich Heine, and “Fantômes,” from Les Orientales, by Victor Hugo. It was set to music by Adolphe Adam. 36 In fact, this distinction holds for the entire ballet Giselle, for the first act is Christian and the second is pagan, although the styles of dancing are inverted: the first act is terre-à-terre and Elssleresque, while the second act is aerial and Taglioniesque.
There then followed a series of disobedient acts: she ignored his warning, danced the forbidden dance again, and was expelled from the rehearsal. But she pleaded to be reinstated. “‘Please, please give me back my pas,’ she begged.
20 After the Sylphide vanishes up the chimney, Effie and her friends enter. Although her part largely involves mime, Effie has one small solo dance, which she does to welcome her wedding guests. Where the Sylphide was tentative, Effie is perfectly at home. She plants herself firmly in the center of the room and, as she opens first her right arm, then her left arm in a wide, open gesture of welcome, she turns to each side to survey the room. In an echo of the opening 20 THE ROMANTIC BALLET scene, she too kisses James, who has once again fallen asleep in his chair.
Dancing women : female bodies on stage by Sally Banes