“Giselle” Ballet + Beyonce

This video is a compilation of scenes from Royal Ballet’s production of the ballet Giselle, featuring Alina Cojocaru as Giselle, set to music by Beyonce. I do not own any of the original content; it was created for educational/parody purposes only as part of my senior project for a BFA program. The purpose of this video is to show that the themes represented in the nineteenth century ballet, Giselle, relate to things we still feel and think about today– things Beyonce sings about. Its sole intention is to allow people who would not otherwise watch ballet to be able to enjoy and understand this art form by juxtaposing it with popular music.

1. Love on Top (Giselle and Albrecht, disguised as a peasant, meet and fall in love)
2. Pretty Hurts (Giselle’s Act I Solo)
3. Best Thing You Never Had (Hilarion reveals Albrecht’s true identity as a nobleman)
4. Broken Hearted Girl (Giselle loses her reason after learning her lover has deceived her; not only this, but that he is engaged to a Princess. She kills herself, and dies).
5. Diva (Entrance of Myrta, Queen of the Wilis, ghostly women who died before their wedding day, jilted by their lovers, who seek their revenge on men by forcing them to dance to their deaths, or throwing them in the lake).
6. Single Ladies (Myrta’s servants, the Wilis, enter, and accept Giselle into their ranks)
7. Halo (Albrecht comes to mourn Giselle; she appears to him as a ghost. They dance together, he filled with remorse, she filled with love and forgiveness).
8. Girls/Who Run the World (The Wilis find Hilarion, and throw him to the icy lake).
9. I Was Here (As the sun rises, the Wilis’ power fades; Giselle protects Albrecht from being forced to dance to his death. The Wilis disappear. Giselle, having forgiven Albrecht, does not join them in a tormented afterlife, but goes to rest in peace, leaving Albrecht in mourning)

This began as a joke, as I needed some comic relief from my year-long research project on Giselle and the era of the Romantic ballet. However, as I pieced it together, my friends who would never dream of sitting down long enough to watch two minutes of a ballet, were dying to watch this video. This got me thinking…setting this ballet to Giselle gave people, who otherwise feel no connection to this art, a doorway in. They felt like they could laugh, and they felt like they understood what was going on, in a sense. At the end, they often became emotional. I think that giving people a doorway into an art form is the first step to making it an important part of their lives. There is a stigma about art being somewhat exclusive or inaccessible, and I feel like this video, in its comedy, is an example of a way to reach out to people who may feel excluded from something I believe everyone has a right to know about and maybe even love.

PS: Copyright disclaimers…I do not own any of this…This was created with respect and knowledge of its creators and owners. Thank you.


Senioritis: The Cause and Cure

Senioritis (sen-ior-I-tis): noun;  inflammation of the senior

1. A psychological condition in which a final year student, or senior, prioritizes other life goals (finding jobs, planning ahead, connecting with family, connecting with Netflix, etc) and experiences severely decreased motivation to attend to school-related tasks (such as class). It is widely thought that the true cause of senioritis is a malfunction in neurological functioning activated by surpassed stress levels; it is the activation of the autonomic “flight” response, after the “fight” response has been employed to its maximum potential.

2. A defense mechanism against society’s widely held belief that it is socially acceptable to ask a student in their final year of an educational degree program what they are going to do once said program ends, ad-nauseum. This defense mechanism can begin as early as the junior year, but due to increased and prolonged aggravation, can become quite severe by the final weeks of the educational degree program. Treatment: The only known treatment for senioritis is time. While no cure is known, activities which an alleviate or distract from symptoms of Senioritis include:

  • Writing cover letters and resumes
  • Avoiding writing cover letters and resumes by watching Netflix, Hulu, Youtube
  • Reading books you did not want to read in high school but suddenly seem extremely interesting
  • Avoiding people who ask you “What are you doing next year?”
  • Asking other people what they are going to do next year so they don’t ask you first
  • Emotionally processing the magnitude of your student loans
  • Financially processing the magnitude of your student loans
  • Reading blogs on advice for how to get through your early twenties
  • Writing blogs giving advice on how to get through your early twenties
  • Pretending you are not in your early twenties by listening to 1990′s/early 2000′s rock
  • Planning elaborate senior pranks with your class
  • Eating chocolate

If you or a loved one is experiencing Senioritis, the best thing to simply allow it to pass and provide the affected person with lots of chocolate.

Senioritis: Dance Majors

Not unlike generalized senioritis, senioritis for dance majors has the same onset and generally similar symptoms. However, symptoms unique to Senioritis DM can include many compulsive behaviors:

  • Obsession over auditions dates and times
  • Avoidance of audition dates and times
  • Obsessive watching of youtube clips
  • Obsessive checking of youtube statistics on your audition reel
  • Obsessive tweaking of your personal website or promotional blog
  • Obsessive changing of Facebook profile pictures to feature best head shots and body shots, lest a potential employer check your profile on a day when you’ve chosen a picture of your friends as a cover photo
  • General over-attention to appearance and maintenance of weight
  • General disregard for underclassmen who know nothing of your circumstances
  • Repeated “face palms” when you remember times in the past you were not sensitive to others who were experiencing senioritis
  • Periodic emotional outbursts
  • Cathartic expression of criticism of your respective dance program
  • Anxiety attacks about the dance world at large
  • Anxiety attacks whenever you are asked by a non-dancer what you will be doing next year
  • Anxiety attacks when a non dancer can’t understand why you are not joining American Ballet Theatre next year

If you are a dance major and find yourself experiencing any of these or related symptoms, I don’t know what to tell you. Treatment to temporarily distract from symptoms of Senioritis DM:

Author’s Note: This post was intended as a joke.

Stop! Take a Moment for Breathtaking Ballet

Natalia Osipova and Carlos Acosta; Royal Ballet, Giselle, Final Pas de Deux. January 2014

Natalia Osipova as Giselle. © ROH / Bill Cooper 2013

This is one of the most beautiful performances of this pas de Deux I have come across recorded on video. What I love is Osipova’s acting; I think she speaks to modern audiences because her acting is very realistic, more of the kind we are used to (and like) seeing in movies. You can see how she seems to have been robbed of all free will as she is forced to entrance her love into the “dance” that is intended to cause him to dance until his death; but but doing a slow, romantic dance, she enables it to last long enough for the sun to rise, causing the Wilis’ power to fade, and her beloved Albrecht to be saved. She, however, must remain in the world of the dead, causing Albrecht and Giselle to finally be parted for good…In this version, I think you can truly see how heart wrenching that is. Even without knowing all of the details of the story, the music + acting + insanely awesome ballet skills contribute to making this my newest all-time-favorite ballet recordings. I believe this was part of the production that was broadcast to US Cinemas through Fathom Events in January, but unfortunately I couldn’t attend. Hopefully I’ll see this live someday soon!

You Were Injured in Rehearsal…What Now?

Imagine you’ve just rolled over your ankle, have fallen to the ground, and are crying in pain/confusion/numbness, and have no idea what may be wrong. Now what do you do? Here’s my completely subjective advice taken from my personal experiences over the past two years. Take it or leave it.

Captivated by Virtuosity: Fitness for Dance

“Dancers are athletes. They run, lift, twist, leap, and dodge. And, unlike most sports or martial arts, they must often place aesthetic and choreographic considerations above safety (look at rolls in modern dance compared with Aikido rolls; one is designed based on an aesthetic, the other is purely functional and safety-oriented). By delving into a study of pure athleticism I will be ignoring aesthetic and artistic considerations until my body, or my instrument, is actually ready to be used for expression.

For dancers out there who read this, do you feel that your dancing gives you enough fitness to meet the challenges of the field? If not, what else do you do to stay in shape? For non-dancers, what are some ways that you measure athleticism? Please do let me know−I am very curious!”

Luke Reid-Griassia, on our blog “An Early Spring”

Dear Luke,

It is perhaps strange that as a dancer, I did not start to consider myself an athlete until recently. For me it stems from high school when sorting yourself into certain social groups was really important, and I fit in with the artistic groups much more than the “athletic” groups. When I finally ended up taking P.E. online my senior year, (with a heart monitor that allowed me to “upload my workouts” to the virtual classroom) it was my first visit to an actual gym. That was a good experience, however, because I began to integrate cardio and weight workouts into my 30+ dance hours/week routine. (more…)