cubanmiamiboy

Famous "Non-Giselles"

32 posts in this topic

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

l.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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

6742870537_9a8ed18427_z.jpg

Giselle_Serg.jpg

69873.jpg

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...?

Share this post


Link to post

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."

Share this post


Link to post

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

3646285553_dcb9a46369_m.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post
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. smile.png

BTW, Cristian, this is a great topic. thumbsup.gif

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, ...dunno.gif

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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..

Share this post


Link to post

Martine Van Hamel, a great Myrtha,danced Giselle with C Tippett in the seventies(?) .Although she looked too healthy in the 1st act,I thought she did very well in the 2nd act.

Share this post


Link to post

I was curious about Gregory, and was about to search a bit into it...

Share this post


Link to post

Although she looked too healthy in the 1st act,I thought she did very well in the 2nd act.

Sergei Grinkov had congenital heart disease and won two Olympic gold medals and had a flourishing professional career despite it until his heart gave out at the rink one day. Appearances can be deceiving.

Share this post


Link to post

Maya Plisetskaya never danced Giselle but was considered a great Myrtha and danced it quite often to Ulanova's Giselle.

The photo of Plisetskaya is not from " Giselle " but from " Chopeninana " as " Les Sylphides " is called in Rissia.

She was not a romantic dancer per se but nevetherless was very sucessful in both of these ballets.

Share this post


Link to post
Martine Van Hamel, a great Myrtha,danced Giselle with C Tippett in the seventies(?) . Although she looked too healthy in the 1st act,I thought she did very well in the 2nd act.
Yes, I remember that season, but unfortunately, I never saw van Hamel in that role. It was during a strange four-week ABT season at City Center -- two weeks of Coppelia and two of Giselle. My friends' reaction was very much like yours, bingham. We all hoped she'd be given more opportunities to work on her Giselle.
Cynthia Gregory also did Giselle in that era, partnered by Ross Stretton:

http://www.nytimes.c...in-giselle.html

Yes, Gregory was in ABT's regular rotation of Giselles. If they were presenting it and she was with the company, she'd be dancing it through the '70s and '80s. I found her unconvincing as both the naive teen and the forgiving spirit, and her attempts at Romantic style were pretty exaggerated for my taste.

Share this post


Link to post
Martine Van Hamel, a great Myrtha,danced Giselle with C Tippett in the seventies(?) . Although she looked too healthy in the 1st act,I thought she did very well in the 2nd act.
Yes, I remember that season, but unfortunately, I never saw van Hamel in that role. It was during a strange four-week ABT season at City Center -- two weeks of Coppelia and two of Giselle. My friends' reaction was very much like yours, bingham. We all hoped she'd be given more opportunities to work on her Giselle.
Cynthia Gregory also did Giselle in that era, partnered by Ross Stretton:

http://www.nytimes.c...in-giselle.html

Yes, Gregory was in ABT's regular rotation of Giselles. If they were presenting it and she was with the company, she'd be dancing it through the '70s and '80s. I found her unconvincing as both the naive teen and the forgiving spirit, and her attempts at Romantic style were pretty exaggerated for my taste.

During that season, Martine also danced Coppelia which I did not see.

Share this post


Link to post

Although she looked too healthy in the 1st act,I thought she did very well in the 2nd act.

Sergei Grinkov had congenital heart disease and won two Olympic gold medals and had a flourishing professional career despite it until his heart gave out at the rink one day. Appearances can be deceiving.

Absolutely, but conveying "congenital and previously undetected heart defect in otherwise robust person" is hard to do in ballet. Both Giselle and her mother know her heart is bad in most readings; from a theatrical standpoint it's easier to believe that Giselle has lived with this all her life if she isn't too hearty.

Share this post


Link to post

I know people, especially adolescents, don't believe how sick they are if they want to hang with their friends and do what they do, but for me, a robust Giselle reflects why she and most of the villagers usually consider Berthe an overprotective fussbudgit, until, of course Giselle dies and "I told you so" is of no comfort.

Dramatically, I find the sweet, passive Giselles dull.

Share this post


Link to post