The Mariinksy Ballet's "Giselle"

Giselle is another good example of how simple, uninteresting surface plots can offer adequate foundations for great art. Yesterday was my first exposure to this ballet and it did not disappoint. The Mariinsky Ballet (the Kirov in Soviet times) at the Kennedy Center. Splendid! Diana Vishneva danced the role of Giselle. I had seen videos of her dancing, so I was not in the least surprised at feeling astounded as I watched her performance. I was surprised, and quite moved, by the breath-taking beauty of the corps de ballet. The group of dancers who performed as wilis, those malignant spirits who torment men, were so beautiful as to be thoroughly implausible. The elegance of their rhythmic synchronization was dizzying. Further, how can mean-spirited ghosts possibly be the source of such beauty? Of course, the storyline is just romantic whimsy: peasant girl falls in love, then drops dead when true (noble) identity of object of love is revealed. That's Act I. In Act II, ghost of girl rises from the dead to try to spare love interest (who is sincerely repentant for his deception), from torments of wilis (the ghosts of women left hanging at the altar). (The wilis force the men to dance until they drop dead! But, the dancing! The dancing really does seem supernatural. Oh, and Maria Shirinkina and the young man with her whose name I don't remember. Their solos and pas de deux in the first act were outstanding! Incredible!

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