ballet explained: giselle, act 2 {finale}

Backstory: apparently, the residents of Giselle’s village like to bury people in a mysterious glade, by a woodland lake. This is also where the Wilis are known to gather. Wilis are victims of unrequited love, sometimes called Died Brides. They haunt the glade dressed in bridal gowns and… draperies. These spirits were jilted by their lovers before their wedding day and rise from their graves at night to stalk any man whom they happen upon between midnight and 4 am – which is quite specific in terms of timing. Men dumb enough to venture onto Wili turf will fall under their power and be forced to dance until death from exhaustion. (It does make one wonder why the location of the village cemetery hasn’t been rethought.)

It is after midnight, and Hilarion keeps vigil by Giselle’s grave and mourns her death. A small cross has been placed at the head of her resting spot. As he weeps, the glade fills with Wilis, and he flees the scene.

giselle | movita beaucoup

The Wilis are led by Myrtha, their Queen, who gathers her posse at the burial spot of Giselle, their new companion. Giselle is called from her grave and initiated into the gang. This, in all likelihood, involved a drinking game and a couple of prank calls.

giselle | movita beaucoup

A sound is heard nearby and the Wilis hide in the forest. Albrecht has arrived to lay flowers by Giselle’s cross, and he weeps with guilt over her death. He is attended by his faithful squire, Wilfred. Poor Wilfred knows that his beloved super-annoying master is in danger given that it’s after midnight, and begs him to leave the glade, but Albrecht refuses to do so because no one listens to anyone in this ballet. So Wilfred leaves, probably saying lots of stuff about Albrecht under his breath.

giselle | movita beaucoup

Suddenly, Albrecht looks up and sees Giselle, more beautiful than ever in Wili form. The Duke wipes away his tears and snot and begs her forgiveness. Giselle forgives him. I mean, he’s told her nothing but lies and mowed her down in the prime of her life, but no biggie, right?

Giselle is compelled to join the rest of the Wilis, and Albrecht desperately follows her, chasing her through the woods as she vanishes and reappears repeatedly. That’s how Wilis flirt. Finally, and most likely bored with his inability to keep up, she takes pity upon him and allows him to join her in a poignant dance. Still with the dancing…

giselle | movita beaucoup

Meanwhile, Hilarion makes a dumbass move and returns to the glade. So, as Giselle and Albrecht are getting reacquainted, the other Wilis have become fully occupied with the chasing of Hilarion around the woods and have got him cornered. They use their magic to force him to dance until he is nearly dead, and then drown him in the lake. I’d feel bad about it, but seriously? Come on, Hilarion.

giselle | movita beaucoup

Next, the Wilis and their Queen to decide deal with the other jackass in their glade. Seeing them coming, and wise to their plan, Giselle tells Albrecht to cling to the little cross on her grave while she stands guard over him. The Queen of the Wilis becomes furious since her magic wand has no power over people clinging to crosses. (It was some sort of wand defect which resulted in a recall the following year.) Thankfully, Myrtha still had absolute power over her Wilis, leaving Giselle unable to disobey her command. Myrtha tells Giselle to lure Albrecht away from the cross with a little dancing. Albrecht is unable to resist Giselle’s rather seductive moves and lets go of the cross like a total doofus. The Wilis then surround Giselle and the Duke of I Don’t Listen and encourage them to get their dance on.

giselle | movita beaucoup

The dancing continues for a long time, and Albrecht starts feeling weak and confused. Myrtha commands Giselle to keep dancing, and Giselle feels crappy because her beloved is becoming exhausted. (Sometimes a great body isn’t an indication of overall fitness.) Giselle tries to sustain Albrecht, but as the night wears on his dancing becomes more and more floppy.

Just as his death seems imminent, the first beams of morning sun conveniently appear. It’s 4 am, and the village’s church clock sounds last call for the Wilis. Daylight destroys the Wilis’ power and the ghostly dancers fade away, returning to their graves.

Giselle’s pure (and completely undeserved) love for Albrecht has countered the vengeful spirit of the Wilis and saves not only the Duke’s life but her own eternal life as well. After bidding a tender farewell to Albrecht, Giselle returns to her grave to rest in peace. As she vanishes from sight, Albrecht finds himself alone. Heartbroken and ashamed, he realizes that Giselle’s love has saved his life, and he lays on the ground feeling pretty bad about himself.

But don’t feel too sorry for him. He’s still got that other fiancée.

giselle | movita beaucoup

The end.



  1. Mike Harvey on July 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Excellent story but I thought his other fiancée had dumped him in act 1?

    • movita beaucoup on July 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      I don’t know about that Mike. I mean, Bathilde declared that she was engaged to Albrecht, and then Giselle immediately freaked out. I think Giselle’s whole diseased-badger scene sort of stole Bathilde’s thunder. One someone dies, it hard to make a dramatic I’m-dumping-you statement. Let’s assume that Albrecht returns to his castle, and Bathilde causes a scene at their next dinner party…

  2. Margie on July 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    The ending reads as if there will be another book in this series. Holding my breath so don’t wait too long.

    • movita beaucoup on July 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      I’m happy to report that there are a lot of crazy ballets out there. So don’t worry, I’m here to help…

  3. Matt on July 11, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    All this time, I thought ballet was boring. All it took was tiny plastic people and captions. The Duke figure was chosen wisely, perpetually frozen in the quick draw position….even when cutting the rug. I look forward to the next production….

    • movita beaucoup on July 12, 2014 at 7:21 am

      You should know that I had to {carefully} remove a lot of weapons from the men of this ballet. It involved a very sharp knife and a lot of whimpering…

  4. Stephbo on July 11, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Giselle is an idiot for falling for his crap again. Just sayin’.

    • movita beaucoup on July 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      RIGHT?! I would have punched Albrecht in the throat if I had met him in the afterlife. Not cool, Giselle.

  5. Jenni on July 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    The Ballet is full of The Crazy. I am Smitten.

    • movita beaucoup on July 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      And sooooo many ballets are equally nuts. SO MUCH MATERIAL!!

  6. Nancy @ gottagetbaked on July 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Man, everyone in this ballet is a GD fool! Good riddance to Hilarion. Now I’m pissed that Albrecht gets off so easily. All he endured was a super intense dance-a-thon. The captioning in this installment was top notch, Movita. My favourite is “Drew. P. Weiner”. Amazing!

    • movita beaucoup on July 12, 2014 at 7:23 am

      I like to think that Albrecht caught pneumonia in the glade and then suffered immensely before his own demise. Or, at the very least, ripped his pants on his way home.

  7. AMS on July 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Loved this retelling and the photos! So much fun!

  8. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef on July 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I think Matt’s comment is spot on. I want to call some place tonight and ask for Drew P Weiner. Maybe have him paged.

    • movita beaucoup on July 12, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Yes. Have him paged. That way everyone at the other end of the call can enjoy!

  9. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen on July 12, 2014 at 12:36 am

    THAT’S the end?? Why didn’t they get together?? Why didn’t his love for her bring her back to life?? So who really loved who? Or whom? O whom loved thou? I love opera but now I’m just depressed. Movita, you should write your own operas.. they’d be hilarious AND you’d be able to choreograph them too and there wouldn’t be so much pointless dancing:D And there’d be a happy (er) ending I’m sure!

    • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen on July 12, 2014 at 12:37 am

      And when I said “depressed” I meant with the story.. not the telling!! I loved what you did and couldn’t wait to read each “chapter” in your series:D Love, love, loved it! You’re an incredible storyteller!!

    • movita beaucoup on July 12, 2014 at 7:31 am

      Oh boy. There’s always one kid who gets very upset about the ending. I’d like to say that most ballets have happy endings, but, uh… not so much.

      I happen to work with a large number of musicians, composers and singers. Maybe I WILL throw together an opera! I’m on it…

  10. Willow @ Will Cook For Friends on July 12, 2014 at 1:11 am

    So. Epic. I kind of want to see this performed for reals, now, just so I can sit in the back of the theater and giggle. Also, your captioning is just brilliant. As are the photos and all the little details of the set. I feel like once you’ve done a handful of ballets like this, you should put them together into the most awesome of books ever. I’d buy that, yo.

    • movita beaucoup on July 12, 2014 at 7:33 am

      I’d actually enjoy seeing a ballet company dance Giselle EXACTLY as I’ve depicted it here. I think I will make that my life’s final request. Also, Barbara up above says she’ll buy my book as well, so that’s three copies sold. And I bet I could convince my parents to buy a copy… THIS COULD HAPPEN.

  11. Sharon | Cheesy Pennies on July 12, 2014 at 4:21 am

    I called that number, and all I got was an admonishing. Maybe I’ll just hang out with Wilfred and wait for the next ballet story.

  12. Bonnie on July 12, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Oh, Movita. I have been giggling and cracking up the whole ballet. Fantastic.

  13. NancyB on July 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

    OMG! My heart skipped a beat when I saw Drew P. Weiner’s name…I dated that MF for awhile and so glad to hear the Wilis are after him!! You gave me a whole new appreciation for this ballet! 🙂

  14. natalie @ wee eats on July 22, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    best. story. ever.

  15. mbnilsson on August 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Just catching up on all of the Giselle action and reads all three posts in succession. LOVED THEM! You are a crack up. I hope you are enjoying the non-food blogging more than the food blogging. 🙂

  16. AK on October 24, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    This is amazing!
    I loved it.
    For a long time I was confused as to why, Hilarion, who was seemingly a good guy had to die like that. I felt it wasn’t justified. But now it seems he was stupid to return to the grave, even after knowing that he wasn’t loved. I think what we can learn from him is the lesson to move on, from giselle we learn the lesson of forgiveness and from Albrecht, I think it’s the lesson of learning from our mistakes. It is with this trio that it become complete.
    Thanks for posting such amazing content.

  17. John Donohue on January 18, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    Too easy.
    Everyone stupid and victims?
    Post back if you are still around and want correction.

    • movita beaucoup on January 19, 2021 at 10:40 am

      No thanks. I teach dance history and this post is satire.

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