Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I break for beauty: Ballerina Alessandra Ferri; Giselle, Act 1; Teatro alla Scala, Milano

If you've ever set foot in a pointe class, you'll immediately recognize the intricate choreography from Giselle, a ballet that tells the story of a peasant girl named Giselle whose betrayal by her aristocratic lover causes her to go mad before dying and returning as a ghost. She protects her lover from the vengeance of a group of evil female spirits called the Wilis, Slavonic supernatural creatures who danced so beautifully, they lured young men to their deaths.

A number of extraordinary ballerinas, including Anna Pavlova and Dame Margot Fonteyn, have danced the part of Giselle, widely recognized as one of the most technically difficult roles ever conceived. Watch the brilliant Alessandra Ferri, and you'll see why.

In this scene, Giselle's flirtatious dance includes an incredible series of hops en pointe, diagonally across the stage. As one commenter at this video notes of Ferri, "I can't stop watching her feet! They are too gorgeous to look away."

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