cubanmiamiboy

Berthe's mime on the Willis story.

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I'm sure the majority of members here have seen one way or the other the complete mime of Berthe narrating the story of the Willis to her terrified audience, including Giselle and Loys. But for anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to see it live-(or in video, as I've never found one that contains it so far)-here's a clip of the whole thing as it's still kept in Cuba.

Giselle is Annette Delgado. Loys is Joel Carreno. The mime runs from 1:03 to 2:17.

Enjoy!

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Is Berthe trying to warn Giselle that her excessive love for dancing will lead to Giselle's death and wilihood? Or is Berthe trying to warn Giselle that Loy's a useless wastrel who will desert her at the altar?

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The Royal Ballet also does a mime scene by Berthe. (didn't know that's her name). Alexander Grant once explained the whole scene to a group of us.

. It's even more complete than in the Cuban Ballet co. they show the veils of the Willis, the Queen commanding them to arise from their graves and making them dance, then enticing young men to dance until their deaths.

It's quite gripping.

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The Cuban version "speaks" some key words and phrases: Sleeping time-(during the night), pointing to the forest, the cross on the graves of the Willis, the opening of the ground, the crossing hands pose of the spirits, the macabre dancing to which all men are subjected when being found and the ultimate death in the vengeful spirits' hands.

Is there any video, commercial or not that shows the British version...? I would love to see it...

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Giselle's mother is warning her not to dance as she has a weak heart and will die and become a Willy.

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does the Cojocaru/Kobborg dvd of the Royal Ballet in Wright's production exclude Berthe's mime?

certainly it was in place for the company's HD telecast of the production with Nunez and Pennefather.

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The Cuban version "speaks" some key words and phrases: Sleeping time-(during the night), pointing to the forest, the cross on the graves of the Willis, the opening of the ground, the crossing hands pose of the spirits, the macabre dancing to which all men are subjected when being found and the ultimate death in the vengeful spirits' hands.

Is there any video, commercial or not that shows the British version...? I would love to see it...

There is a small amount of description and a brief stage performance extract here

What one really wants is a video of Gerd Larsen as Berthe with the Royal Ballet in full dramatic flow as taught by Tamara Karsavina.

ps

I forgot to add that Hartford Ballet in about 1996 staged a production of Giselle with Berthe's mime.

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Just wondering, because if a wili is the spirit of a jilted girl, rather than of a frivolous girl (who loves dancing), then perhaps Berthe's recounting of the wili legend is her way of slyly commenting on Loy's character.

On balance, I think the mime helps to give the story the narratological arc of real tragedy, since Berthe can see the train wreck coming, even though she seems powerless to prevent it. By contrast, Odette's mime seems more like simple explication, adding little to the drama of Swan Lake

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Just wondering, because if a wili is the spirit of a jilted girl, rather than of a frivolous girl (who loves dancing), then perhaps Berthe's recounting of the wili legend is her way of slyly commenting on Loy's character.

On balance, I think the mime helps to give the story the narratological arc of real tragedy, since Berthe can see the train wreck coming, even though she seems powerless to prevent it. By contrast, Odette's mime seems more like simple explication, adding little to the drama of Swan Lake

According to Heinrich Heine, the legend of the wilis can be found in Austria though it appears to be of Slavic origin.

It is the lot of maidens who were due to be married but were restricted from dancing in life die before their marriage who rise up from their graves and in groups attack young men and make them dance until they die from exhaustion.

The implication seems to be in Berthe's mime is that Giselle's strong desire to dance meant she was taking life to lightly and only sadness can follow as in the legend.

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@Leonid: thanks for the background. That helps a lot.

does the Cojocaru/Kobborg dvd of the Royal Ballet in Wright's production exclude Berthe's mime?

certainly it was in place for the company's HD telecast of the production with Nunez and Pennefather.

The mime is included in the DVD w/ Cojocaru and Kobborg. I suppose it's the same mime as in the Nunes/Pennefather (which I haven't seen). In the Cojocaru DVD, Berthe's tale of the wilis centers on Myrtha specifically: the veiled and queenly Myrtha appears and calls the wilis from their graves, she hears the approach of an unsuspecting man and commands the man to dance till he dies of exhaustion.

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