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Hair up or down, during the Mad Scene?


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#16 Cygnet

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 12:30 PM

Disorder in and around Giselle's head? :wink:á

I much prefer the Fracci method.á I hate it when the hair becomes the star of the last third of Act I. We first see Giselle in a tight, neat, little bun.á But at her last entrance, the bun is a little looser.á Then there's the whole production of undoing it so that the hair falls.á Too much unnecessary stage fuss distracting from the action, to my mind.áá :wub:

I agree Cabro. Fracci was brilliant. There's one ballerina (that I know of), who has (had?) the affectation of wearing her hair down throughout Act 1: D. Vishneva.
I think that makes her look about as innocent as Jennifer Lopez. Maybe she's
stopped doing this.

Re: your first point, I've always wondered what 'flavor' is Giselle's psychosis? Is she paranoid schizophrenic, delusional, or just a 'buffet' of insanity? I also agree with Mohnurka's conclusion that truly great dance actresses can illustrate those nuances and successfully get the point over whether the 'do' is up or down. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for another.

#17 carbro

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 02:50 PM

I've always wondered what 'flavor' is Giselle's psychosis?á Is she paranoid schizophrenic, delusional, or just a 'buffet' of insanity?

Such an intriguing question! I guess "Heartbroken" isn't in the DSM. And I guess it's impossible to escape the fact that we live in the post-Freudian Age of Psychopharmacology. :wink:

#18 Mel Johnson

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Posted 24 June 2004 - 05:59 PM

Whatever it is, I'd say it's closely related to whatever Lucia di Lammermoor has.

#19 esperanto

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 11:40 AM

Whatever it is, I'd say it's closely related to whatever Lucia di Lammermoor has.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with you, and was going to say so in your previous remarks about Lucia and the convention of hair down signifying madness.

#20 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 03:43 PM

I'm with carbro on the convention - disorder outside the head signals disorder INSIDE the head.

#21 oberon

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 06:44 PM

In most GISELLEs I have seen, as Alexandra mentioned, Giselle's mother hastily removes the hair pins as she comforts her stricken daughter. Fracci might be considered to have been in a class by herself, but in the highest echelon I would also include Mariana Tcherkassky. I prefer hair down in the Mad Scene.

As for her madness, it is akin to Lucia di Lammermoor's...I'd call it "broken heart syndrome". Some productions try to show Lucia's impending derangement with little "clues" earlier on. Giselle is usually pretty normal, albeit naive, up to the point where she grasps Albrecht's treachery.

NYCB fans: find the links between Lucia and the put-upon ballerina in Chris Wheeldon's SHAMBARDS. There are even quotes from the opera's score in the music for the ballet.

#22 carbro

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 10:35 PM

Giselle is usually pretty normal, albeit naive, up to the point where she grasps Albrecht's treachery.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Not necessarily. Some Giselles (Kirkland leaps to mind immediately) find several points in Act I to suggest Giselle's none-too-firm grip on reality. Albrecht's betrayal simply kicks the latent dementia into high gear. :)

There are opportunities when G. realizes that A. has seen her. curtseying towards his house; after the daisy-picking when he declares, "We are one;" during the interlude with Bathilde, and in response to Berthe's warning of the dangers of dancing. Of course when Berthe's spiel is cut to almost nothing, there is almost nothing to respond to.

#23 Rosa

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:19 PM

Disorder in and around Giselle's head? :devil:á

I much prefer the Fracci method.á I hate it when the hair becomes the star of the last third of Act I. We first see Giselle in a tight, neat, little bun.á But at her last entrance, the bun is a little looser.á Then there's the whole production of undoing it so that the hair falls.á Too much unnecessary stage fuss distracting from the action, to my mind.áá :ermm:


I agree, Carbro. I remember seeing one Giselle who throughout the whole mad scene kept brushing her long hair out of her face. She was going mad, oblivious of "Loys", her mother, friends and strangers, yet very much aware of her hair being in the way and needing to be pushed back. In my opinion it took away from her performance. My preference: hair up, or the wonderful Fracci method, or having the hair part way down.


How much is the effect of Giselle's hair being down during the mad scene lessened when she wears it down throughout Act 1 (Vishneva, Cojocaru, Seymour (on the video with Nureyev))?

#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:33 PM

I've always wondered what 'flavor' is Giselle's psychosis?á Is she paranoid schizophrenic, delusional, or just a 'buffet' of insanity?

Such an intriguing question! I guess "Heartbroken" isn't in the DSM.

Giselle suffered from Cassandra's Complex...

#25 leonid17

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 03:18 PM

I've always wondered what 'flavor' is Giselle's psychosis?á Is she paranoid schizophrenic, delusional, or just a 'buffet' of insanity?

Such an intriguing question! I guess "Heartbroken" isn't in the DSM.

Giselle suffered from Cassandra's Complex...


I had a double take when I first read your post because it reminded me of the goth band of that name. Hilarion does of course warn her about Loys but poor girl already hopelessly in love does as you say reflect the classic Cassandra Complex(metaphor or curse) in which valid warnings are disbelieved. In the best of productions there is enough business away from Giselle for the hairpin removal not to be noticed especially when in the hands of an experienced Berthe. Madness in women is traditionaly portrayed in art with the hair down and dishevelled and it is a picture that audiences identify with Úperdu.

#26 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 04:45 PM

Seymour has her hair pulled back, but kind of in a loose do-(Alonso's production too)-which makes it easy to drop during the hysteria sequence. I find Seymour's business with her hair a little overdone though...About ballerinas manipulating their hair away from the face, I've seen a good deal, mostly at contemporary pieces, but being in the hair business I can't address enough what a common thing this mannerism is among the female population, crazy or not... :devil:


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