ballet explained: giselle, act 1, part 2

Quick recap: Giselle is being pursued by two suitors – Hilarion and Duke Albrecht (who is disguised as a farmer named Loys). Giselle has fallen for Albrecht and Hilarion is pretty jealous. It is an autumn morning during the grape harvest, Albrecht is wooing Giselle, Hilarion is getting annoyed, and things are about to get interesting.

So, Hilarion finds Giselle prancing around with Albrecht yet again, and I’m not gunna mince my words here: he does some admonishing. He warns Giselle not to trust Albrecht, but she doesn’t listen. Hilarion tries to separate the couple, but Albrecht fights back. It’s a typical ballet altercation involving a kick or two, some jabbing, and a pirouette, but it’s enough to drive Hilarion into the forest.

giselle | movita beaucoup

giselle | movita beaucoup

With Hilarion gone, Giselle and Albrecht get back to dancing, and Albrecht, totally amped on fight juice, asks Giselle to marry him. She accepts despite the fact that she knows absolutely nothing about him.

A pile of villagers arrive after some grape harvesting, and invite Giselle and Albrecht to join in a celebration of… grapes, presumably. It doesn’t take long for people to find out about the engagement, and everyone starts celebrating the impending marriage of their favourite local to a dude who randomly turned up a few days ago. There is a lot of singing and dancing, and absolutely no one says: what the hell, Giselle?

giselle | movita beaucoup

giselle | movita beaucoup

Berthe, Giselle’s mother, emerges from her cottage and scolds the revelers for their loud partying. She tells Giselle to stop dancing because – and this is pretty important – Giselle has a weak heart that leaves her in delicate health. She’s not supposed to be dancing. At all. And yes, you’re right, Giselle seems to do an awful lot of dancing for someone who shouldn’t be doing so. Like Hilarion, Berthe doesn’t approve of the stranger who has been hanging off her daughter, and reminds Giselle about stranger danger – not that Giselle listens.

giselle | movita beaucoup

A noble hunting party arrives in the village, seeking refreshment after a rigorous hunt. No one likes drop-in visitors, but the villagers are always up for a party and don’t say a word about how silly it is for rich people to have gone out without snacks. The hunters are led by the Prince of Courland and his daughter, Princess Bathilde. Yes, that Bathilde. Albrecht’s OTHER fiancée. Albrecht scurries away before Bathilde sees him, knowing she will recognize him, as his disguise basically consists of tights and a vest. (A fake beard and glasses would have been well advised.)

Giselle and the villagers mingle with the hunters. Giselle gets weird and wants to touch Princess Bathilde’s dress and stuff. This may or may not be due to her heart condition and a lack of oxygen to the brain. When Princess Bathilde learns that both she and Creepy Giselle are engaged, she gives her a beautiful necklace. Giselle is all: thanks! But in her head she’s thinking: I bet my dude is better than yours, because she doesn’t know they’re both engaged to the same sac of crap.

giselle | movita beaucoup

Now, while all this has been going on, Hilarion has been poking around Albrecht’s cottage and finds some fancy clothes and a sword embellished with a coat of arms. He’s pretty excited because now he’s got proof that Albrecht isn’t who he says he is.

The hunting party departs from the village, but the villagers keep partying – it’s a real rager. Albrecht returns now that Bathilde is gone, and joins Giselle in – what else – more dancing. That’s when Hilarion busts in. He gets super excited and dance mimes: Loys is a Duke in disguise! Because people don’t talk in ballets and have to gesticulate a lot of stuff. Then Hilarion hurls Albrecht’s fancy threads and bejeweled sword on the ground before Giselle. There is a lot of shock and awe – some of which is over the absolutely gorgeous sword. (The following year, BeDazzlers are released so home crafters can make their own fancy daggers.)

For bonus points, Hilarion sounds off on a hunting-horn, and the hunting party returns. Bathilde sees Albrecht and immediately starts miming questions like: why are you dressed like that? And Albrecht gestures out something like: it’s just one of those funny jokes… get it? And then grabs her hand because that makes everything seem more sincere.

Bathilde announces that she is engaged to Albrecht, and he doesn’t deny it. Giselle is all: what… no… I… engaged? It was pretty awkward for the people standing around pretending not to listen.

giselle | movita beaucoup

Giselle descends into madness faster than a sneeze through a screen door. She pieces together the Duke’s lies and starts flipping out. She rips the gifted necklace from her neck and starts clawing at her hair like a diseased badger. She does some talking to herself and rocks back and forth a bit. Then she gets the crazy eyes. Everyone is pretty freaked out. Albrecht is embarrassed and gesticulates: dude, you’re causing a scene, calm yourself! But Giselle breaks away from him, grabs his sword and puts it to her heart. She falls to the ground and dies. But it wasn’t the sword that killed her. No. It was the dancing. WHICH HER MOTHER HAD SPECIFICALLY WARNED HER ABOUT.

giselle | movita beaucoup

Now, the ballet could end there. But it doesn’t. There’s a second act. And yes, it gets weirder.

giselle | movita beaucoup


  1. Willow @ Will Cook For Friends on July 10, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Hahaha, this is so awesome… “I’m engaged!” “Me too!” “My man wears tight pants!” “So does mine!”

    The mere fact that you point out how odd the plot is at every turn makes this a masterpiece. I’m not familiar with the real, actual Giselle, so it’s hard to fathom how much weirder it can get, but I am thoroughly looking forward to act 2.

    • movita beaucoup on July 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Oh, Willow. If you like odd, you’re gunna LOVE Act 2!! The real deal is exceptionally beautiful – it’s what makes Giselle one of the White Ballets – the entire Act is filled with etherial spirits and is, of course, white romantic tutus. (I can’t guarantee that my version will be as lovely. Mostly because of the captions.)

  2. Mellissa@ibreatheimhungry on July 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    DUDE, I’m on the edge of my seat here!!! These people be cray-cray! The captions are hilarious, can’t wait for tomorrow!!!!

    • movita beaucoup on July 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      They ARE cray-cray, and things will only get worse in the final instalment…

  3. Bonnie on July 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Good, good, good! Bravo. See, I’m throwing flowers at the stage.

  4. thatskinnychickcanbake on July 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    “…starts clawing at her hair like a diseased badger” is one of the best descriptive lines I’ve heard in ages. You crack me up. Cannot wait for the next installment!

  5. Juls on July 10, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I am getting married in four weeks. I’d be a bit relieved if the other half turned out to a bigamist douche because this whole ‘wedding’ thing is a proper ballache – Giselle missed a bullet there (unfortunately the other half is a reasonable, cheerful and stable chap. Crap.)

    • movita beaucoup on July 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Imagine if Giselle had lived – save the date cards, florists, menu planning – her weak heart would NEVER HAVE SURVIVED.

  6. Erika on July 10, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Oh. My. Goodness. You are hilarious. Thank you for the laughs (the last two scenes! Dying). I so needed that!

  7. Jenni on July 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    A pox on the lot of ’em, I say. Hrmph. RIP, Creepy Giselle. Looking forward to the rest of the shenanigans!

  8. natalie @ wee eats on July 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm


    can’t. wait.
    Also, how long til I can order the published edition?

    • movita beaucoup on July 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      I figure it’s only a matter of time before major ballet companies employ me to explain ballet to their audiences. And then, shortly after that, they fire me for telling the stories… wrong.

  9. Nancy @ gottagetbaked on July 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Ermagawd, this is good shit. It’s like a classier version of Real Housewives of Whatever Crazytown! How in the hell is there still an act 2?! I envision cray-cray ghosts and maybe a reunion between dead-Giselle and whichever one of those dudes a la Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost? One can only dream!

    • movita beaucoup on July 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will tell you that there is absolutely no pottery making in Act 2.

  10. AHAnto on July 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I’ve seen the ballet several times, but nobody explained it as well as you do… can’t wait for more weirdness.

  11. Nancy @ gottagetbaked on July 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Oh, and while every line and caption you’ve written is a complete gem, Movita, my fave is when Giselle’s mama be like “Keep your legs closed and your options open.” Solid advice.

  12. Mike Harvey on July 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Lemme get this straight: The heroine’s dead but this is only the end of act 1? Ballet sounds just as weird as opera.

  13. Molly @WonderlandK on July 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    The snacks! The gesticulation! There’s so much to favorite here, but I think Imma go with the advent of the BeDazzler. Your rockin this.

  14. Matt on July 10, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I expected the caption ” He went to Jared!” above Giselle’s head. I guess polygamists don’t shop there. Maybe Kay Jewelers…..

    • movita beaucoup on July 11, 2014 at 9:03 am

      Albrecht probably stole the ring. He’s a total badass.

  15. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef on July 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Faster than a sneeze through a screen door? LOL I think you should be hired to provide these for all ballet companies. and operas too. I love it.

  16. Pink Peep on July 11, 2014 at 12:59 am

    By any chance does the dancing involve some of the great dance moves from the 80’s? Cause the duke looks like he is ready to bust a move. Gotta go, it’s hammer time! Que the music…

  17. Chocolate Chilli Mango® on July 11, 2014 at 6:17 am

    Fuuuarrrrrrrrrrrrrrkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk, I am having cramps from laughing so much.
    Best Giselle EVER.

    You have found your true calling, my friend.

  18. Stacy on July 12, 2014 at 4:18 am

    This needs to be a book series. Seriously. I am certain there is a publisher who would take this on and pay you the big bucks, Movita. You could tell all the great ballets in your inimitable style!

    • movita beaucoup on July 12, 2014 at 7:28 am

      Agreed, Stacy. And if you bought a copy and I bought a copy… that’s practically a best seller in Canada! And then my dreams of working in my pyjamas could come true… (Writers don’t have to go outdoors, right?)

      • Stacy on July 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

        I do not use that Seriously haphazardly or with tongue in cheek. I really, really do believe that your funny ballet synopses would sell. To more people than to just you and me! SERIOUSLY.

        • Michelle on March 22, 2015 at 10:56 am

          I agree with Stacy. I would buy them in glossy, graphic-novel-esque book form (or as a PDF download!) and so would lots of people 🙂

          • movita beaucoup on March 22, 2015 at 9:55 pm

            You are obviously the most brilliant person on the planet. Well, you AND Stacy. I’m taking this under advisement!!

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