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Famous "Non-Giselles"


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:06 AM

Giselle is definitely an iconic role. Still, one can see that many ballerinas from all periods have been able to pull out better Odettes/Odiles than Giselles. The role is usually chosen for retirement purposes also, as if saying good bye in the grand manner. I can think of just a handful of women that have been capable to incorporate different styles of dancing, as to be successful either in the romantic style, Petipa-pancake tutu era and well into the revolutionary waves of the XX Century-(either Balanchine, Massine, Tudor, Ashton, Robbins etc...). Names that come to my mind right away are Markova-(Giselle, Swan Lake, Massine's Rouge et Noir, Tudor's R&J, Balanchine's Jeu de cartes), Alonso-(Giselle, Swan Lake, de Mille's Fall River Legend, Massine's Aleko, Balanchine's T&V)-, Kaye-(Giselle, Tudor's Pillar of Fire, Robbins' The Cage)- Fonteyn-(Giselle, Swan Lake, Ashton's Ondine)- Kirkland-(Giselle, Don Quixote, Tudor's The Leaves are Fading, Balanchine's Firebird), and some few others. On the contrary, there seems to be a wave of dancers that always felt the role somehow out of their scope. For some reason today's ballerinas tend toward trying to conquer all the styles at once, although in the past it seems to me that wasn't the case.
I always thought that Plisetskaya had never danced the role, but I found the pic below, so I guess I was wrong. Patricia McBride can be seen being coached by Dolin in the role in the Portray of Giselle video. Did she dance the role at all...? I thought that Danilova hadn't danced it either, and in Markova's memoirs Alicia declares that Alexandra preferred to dance Myrtha instead only to her Giselle, but I actually have seen a photo of Danilova in the role in Beaumont's The Ballet called Giselle. I also think that Kseshinskaya and Preobrajenskaya never danced it.

Who are other famous ballerinas who never danced Giselle...?


Plisetskaya

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#2 Helene

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:18 AM

Did Farrell ever dance "Giselle" or any of the classical full-lengths for Paul Mejia's companies?

#3 dirac

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:42 AM

Farrell was never a Giselle for anybody (nor does she ever seem to have had a yen for it). She did do the evening-length "Swan Lake" for the National Ballet of Canada, and she performed Mejia's "Cinderella." She was Juliet for Bejart. That's all I can think of, offhand. And of course if the timing had been right and the money available, she might have been Balanchine's Aurora.

For some reason today's ballerinas tend toward trying to conquer all the styles at once, although in the past it seems to me that wasn't the case.


Today's ballerinas also have more styles from which to choose (and given the varied repertory of many companies now, they may not have much choice, although most seem eager to experiment).

Was Dudinskaya a Giselle? I think of her as being a little too powerful for the role, but you never know.

#4 ksk04

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:53 AM

Maria Alexandrova is an excellent ballerina who has never been a Giselle. She's working her way through non-emploi roles though (Aurora and Nikya, recently), so she may have one in her before her career is over.

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:05 PM

Was Dudinskaya a Giselle? I think of her as being a little too powerful for the role, but you never know.


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How about McBride's coaching session with Dolin...? Was she preparing to dance the role as a guest somewhere or she was just there for the video purpose...?

#6 Helene

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:12 PM

At Pacific Northwest Ballets, three of the recent Odette/Odiles were cast as Giselle. The other two, Maria Chapman and Carrie Imler, were cast as Myrtha in PNB's first production of "Giselle."

#7 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:49 PM

Actually, let me answer myself...Preobrazhenskaya did dance Giselle, as this pic with Legat proves.

Posted Image

#8 dirac

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

Thanks for the pix, cubanmiamiboy.

I think those scenes with Dolin, Tomasson and McBride were staged for the video but I could be wrong about that.

#9 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 01:47 PM

I always thought that Plisetskaya had never danced the role, but I found the pic below, so I guess I was wrong.

Who are other famous ballerinas who never danced Giselle...?


Hi Cristian,

It is my distinct recollection from reading Maya's autobiography that she danced Myrtha only - I believe she mentions it in the book that she never danced Giselle. Still, the photo looks more like Giselle than Myrtha, doesn't it?

~ Karen

#10 MakarovaFan

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:22 PM

Tatiana Terekhova was a distinguished Myrtha but never danced Giselle, right? A great ballerina for sure but too strong for Giselle.

#11 AlbanyGirl

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:31 PM

Tatiana Terekhova was a distinguished Myrtha but never danced Giselle, right? A great ballerina for sure but too strong for Giselle.


One could say that about Maya Plisetskaya, too.

#12 puppytreats

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:43 PM

I don't understand the characterization of one as being too strong for Giselle. Giselle possessed incredible emotional and moral strength, even though her body could not survive in this world, and the strength of her love overcame the willis.

#13 carbro

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 04:56 PM

It is my distinct recollection from reading Maya's autobiography that she danced Myrtha only - I believe she mentions it in the book that she never danced Giselle. Still, the photo looks more like Giselle than Myrtha, doesn't it?

Or a Chopiniana "sylph"? It's a wonderful photo. Plisetskaya looks remarkably airborne. Not what one would expect from her, even though she was known as a jumper. I never would have thought of her as a Romantic stylist, but at least for the duration of that pose, she was. Posted Image

BTW, Cristian, this is a great topic. Posted Image

Did Farrell ever dance "Giselle" or any of the classical full-lengths for Paul Mejia's companies?

Not sure where I read this interview, or who the writer was, but at one point Farrell was asked if she ever wanted to dance Giselle, and her reply was, "Only if Balanchine staged it." It's probably safe to assume that she didn't, but since she was still dancing for many years after that interview, ...Posted Image

#14 canbelto

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 05:53 PM

I think Mathilde Kschessinskaya only danced Giselle once near the end of her career, and it was not a success.

#15 Lidewij

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:54 PM

I believe that Terekhova did dance Giselle, near the end of her career. I'm not sure if she's too strong for Giselle, the video of her Sleeping Beauty on YT is one of the very best interpretations I have seen, even though she is not the 'type' to dance Aurora..


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